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What is transurethral surgery or TURBT for bladder cancer?
The initial surgical procedure that a patient undergoes after the diagnosis
of bladder cancer is established is usually a transurethral resection of
bladder tumor or "TURBT." It is done with the help of special instruments
attached to a cystoscope (mentioned earlier in the section on investigations)
and involves cutting out the tumor and removing it from the bladder with the
help of an electrical cautery device. This surgery is done through the normal
urinary passage and does not involve an external cut on the body. It is the
initial treatment of bladder cancer as well as a staging procedure since the
specimen retrieved from the surgery is sent to a pathologist who gives his/her
inference on the depth of invasion of the tumor in the bladder wall (T stage) as
well as the grade (high/low). Further treatment depends to a large extent on the
findings of this initial surgery as well as the other staging investigations and
is covered in the sections to follow.