UI Hospitals and Clinics

Bladder Cancer Program

Our bladder cancer team works together to offer some of the most advanced procedures and innovative therapies in the country. Our clinical trial portfolio rivals those of much larger cancer centers and we offer unique treatments and therapies.

At University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, our highly experienced physicians and staff are dedicated to taking care of you, not just your cancer. As part of a nationally recognized cancer center, our team focuses on every aspect of bladder cancer, including what your life will be like when your treatment is complete. Our clinicians are also top researchers, finding new and innovative treatments and therapies, as well as what it takes to get you back to your life. We are always searching for ways to make the best cancer treatments even better.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • Experts focused on bladder cancer. Our team of specialists focuses only on cancers of the urinary system and we have expertise in bladder cancer. Because our specialists concentrate only on urological cancers, they understand the disease and know about the most recent treatment option—from innovative surgeries to chemotherapy to radiation therapy to immunotherapy.In fact most of our urologists have completed additional training in urologic oncology.
  • Robotic and standard surgical options. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa offers a range of surgical procedures for bladder cancer patients from transurethral resection (sometimes called TUR) for early-stage bladder cancers to radical cystectomy or removal of bladders. We also offer robotic cystectomies.
  • Cysview or blue light cystoscopy. UI bladder experts also offer Cysview or blue light cystoscopy which helps them to better see bladder cancers in patients and improves their ability to remove all of the cancer so recurrence is less likely.
  • Innovative clinical trials. Our clinical trial portfolio is one of the largest in the midwest. We not only offer access to the most recent treatment methods and therapies, but our physicians are also kidney cancer researchers, placing them at the forefront of the latest breakthroughs.
  • New infusion suite just for you. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable, welcoming environment. Take our virtual tour.
  • As members of an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our doctors, nurses, and staff are among the nation's leaders in cancer research, education, prevention, and outreach. Our experience—and our expertise—guides the cancer care we provide to patients like you.

    Comprehensive Care With You in Mind

    Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa—and one of only 45 nationwide—to be designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Of the approximately 1500 cancer centers and programs in the United States, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent nationally.

    To be a "comprehensive" center means our medical teams have met strict guidelines in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research.

    The Power of Clinical Trials

    This is an exciting time in the world of cancer research. Our physicians are knee-deep in this research, and they understand new developments to treat prostate cancer.

    Since 2013, the genito-urinary cancer team has been collecting tissues, DNA and other information about many cancers of the urinary system. With more than 400 samples, researchers are able to better understand how prostate cancer works and develop new treatment options.

    Clinical trials are where research meets patient care. Clinical trials are research studies that test out the latest treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the wider public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

    Holden offers a number of clinical trials for bladder cancer, including a study that is looking at a tumor biomarker called COXEN to see if it can predict a person's response to chemotherapy.

    See all of the clinical trials at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Support the Cancer Center

    Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in our efforts to control—and ultimately cure—cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

    Facts About Bladder Cancer

    • Bladder cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the United States and has the highest recurrence rate of any cancer.
    • Most people who get bladder cancer are in their 60s or 70s. It also affects more men than women and caucasians. Other risk factors include smoking and having a family history of bladder cancer.
    • The most common signs of bladder cancer are blood in the urine, pain during urination, or frequent urination. Although all of these symptoms are also symptoms for other conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to talk to your doctor.

    Bladder Cancer Care Team

    We bring together experts from different areas of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group, focused on a specific cancer type, such as bladder cancer.

    This team of specialists—surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, genetics counselors, nurses, and others—works together to design a treatment plan that is tailored to your cancer and your specific treatment needs.


    Medical Oncology

    Radiation Oncology



    Research Nurses

    • Pam Zehr, RN
    • Jill Wegeman, RN
    • Janan Geick-Miller, RN
    • Susan Butcher, RN
    • Michelle Arnold, RN
    • Mary Schall, RN