When You Go Home
Having bladder cancer and its treatment can be difficult to cope with. Tell your doctor or nurse about any problems or side effects that you have. The nurse will give you telephone numbers to call if you have any problems at home.
Youll be told you need to drink lots of fluid after this treatment. It helps clear your system of chemotherapy.
You have to be careful when you pass urine so that you don’t get it on your skin. Men should sit down to pass urine, to reduce the chance of splashing. The urine contains some chemicals from the chemotherapy which could irritate your skin.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Full recovery from bladder cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or metastatic.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer is difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, expertise, and knowledge to support patients and their families, and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
Patients who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is a specific type of palliative care designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
Is There Any Preparation Involved
Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for what to do before and after the procedure. Tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Certain immunosuppressants, antimicrobial therapies, and radiation therapies can interfere with BCG treatment.
Youll be advised to limit your fluid intake for four hours prior to the procedure. You might be told to avoid caffeine for a few hours longer than that, because its a diuretic and could make things more difficult.
Youll be asked to urinate just before the procedure so youll be able to hold the medication in your bladder for several hours.
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How Vitamins Affect Chemotherapy Drugs
Many people want to take an active role in improving their overall health. They want to help their bodys natural defenses fight the cancer and speed up their recovery from chemo. Most people think of vitamins as a safe way to improve health, so its not surprising that many people with cancer take high doses of one or more vitamins. But some vitamins might make chemo less effective.
More research is needed, but until more is known about the effects of vitamins on chemo, keep these points in mind:
- If your doctor has not told you to take vitamins, its best not to take any.
- Always check with your doctor first before starting to take a vitamin of any kind, even a simple multivitamin.
- Ask your doctors if and when it might be OK to start taking vitamins after treatment.
- If youre concerned about nutrition, you can usually get plenty of vitamins by eating a well-balanced diet. See Nutrition for People With Cancer to learn more about nutrition during and after cancer treatment.
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Appetite And Weight Changes
You might find that youâre less hungry than usual or not hungry at all. Some people feel full on just a little food. These changes can make you lose weight and keep you from getting the right nutrition. You may also lose muscle, making you weaker.
Talk to your doctor about appetite changes before they slow your recovery or get in the way of your treatment.
Some tips to manage appetite changes include:
- Eat several small meals a day.
- Snack whenever you feel hungry.
- Choose foods that are high in calories and protein such as dried fruits, nuts, cheese, yogurt, eggs, cereal, ice cream, and nutrition shakes.
- Cut down on nausea by eating cold food.
- Add spices or condiments if food tastes too bland.
- Do some light exercise about an hour before a meal. Your doctor can help you find an exercise program thatâs right for you.
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Radiotherapy With A Radiosensitiser
Radiotherapy is given by a machine that beams the radiation at the bladder . Sessions are usually given on a daily basis for 5 days a week over the course of 4 to 7 weeks. Each session lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes.
A medicine called a radiosensitiser should also be given alongside radiotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This medicine affects the cells of a tumour, to enhance the effect of radiotherapy. It has a much smaller effect on normal tissue.
As well as destroying cancerous cells, radiotherapy can also damage healthy cells, which means it can cause a number of side effects. These include:
- tightening of the vagina , which can make having sex painful
- erectile dysfunction
- difficulty passing urine
Most of these side effects should pass a few weeks after your treatment finishes, although there’s a small chance they’ll be permanent.
Having radiotherapy directed at your pelvis usually means you’ll be infertile .
After having radiotherapy for bladder cancer, you should be offered follow-up appointments every 3 months for the first 2 years, then every 6 months for the next 2 years, and every year after that. At these appointments, your bladder will be checked using a cystoscopy.
You may also be offered CT scans of your chest, abdomen and pelvis after 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. A CT scan of your urinary tract may be offered every year for 5 years.
Types Of Bladder Control Problems
Anyone can have bladder control problems or incontinence. Incontinence caused by cancer or cancer treatment can last a short time or a long time, and it can be mild or severe. There are different types of bladder control problems.
Stress incontinence. Urine leaks out during activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
Overflow incontinence. Urine leaks out when your bladder is full.
Urge incontinence. You feel the urge to go to the bathroom right away and urine leaks before you can get to the bathroom.
Continuous incontinence. Urine leaks out constantly, and you cannot control it.
These bladder problems can make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Sometimes, people avoid activities they enjoy because of bladder problems. That can affect your quality of life. These are reasons why it is important to tell your health care provider about your experiences. They can help you treat incontinence. The treatment of side effects is an important part of your cancer care and treatment, called palliative care or supportive care. Talk with your health care team about how to treat or manage incontinence.
What Are The Common Side Effects Of Bladder Cancer Medication
Side effects of bladder cancer medications will vary depending on the medication, the dose, and the patients other medical conditions. This is not a complete list.
Almost two in three patients that receive intravesical BCG will experience bladder irritation that includes pain, swelling, painful urination, and a frequent need to urinate. BCG is a live culture of a bacteria similar to tuberculosis, so the next most common side effects are reactions to this bacteria as if it were an infection. The most serious side effect is an actual infection that will require antibiotic treatment.
Bladder cancer chemotherapy drugs all reduce the ability of bone marrow to produce white blood cells. As a result, infections are a common side effect and could be serious enough to require hospitalization.
Antitumor antibiotics commonly cause nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, as well as possible heart damage.
Common side effects of gemcitabine include flu-like symptoms, fatigue, nausea, skin rash, and a decrease in white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Lowered red blood cells, or anemia, can cause fatigue, tiredness, and shortness of breath. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting, so patients on gemcitabine may have bleeding or bruising problems.
Common side effects of granulocyte-colony stimulating factors include bone pain, pain in the extremities, nausea, fever, and low platelet counts, which can cause bleeding and bruising problems.
How Does Bladder Cancer Spread
Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells of the bladder lining. In some cases, it may spread into surrounding bladder muscle. If the cancer penetrates this muscle, it can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system.
If bladder cancer spreads to other parts of the body, such as other organs, itâs known as metastatic bladder cancer.
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Bladder Cancer Clinical Trials
Major drug companies continually research and develop new medications and treatments for bladder cancer that must be shown to be safe and effective before doctors can prescribe them to patients. Through clinical trials, researchers test the effects of new drugs on a group of volunteers who have bladder cancer. Following a strict protocol and using carefully controlled conditions, researchers evaluate the investigational drugs under development and measure the ability of the new drug to treat bladder cancer, its safety, and any possible side effects.
Some patients are reluctant to take part in clinical trials for fear of getting no treatment at all. But patients who participate in clinical trials receive the most effective therapy currently available for the condition, or they may receive treatments that are being evaluated for future use. These bladder cancer drugs may be even more effective than current treatment. Comparing them in a clinical trial is the only way to find out.
HereÃ¢s where to find information about whether a bladder cancer clinical trial is right for you.
This website lists industry-sponsored clinical trials that are actively recruiting patients.
American Cancer Society: Ã¢Bladder Cancer Treatment,Ã¢ Ã¢Bladder Cancer Surgery,Ã¢ Ã¢Radiation Therapy for Bladder Cancer,Ã¢ Ã¢Chemotherapy for bladder cancer,Ã¢ Ã¢FDA Approves New Immunotherapy Drug for Bladder Cancer,Ã¢ Ã¢Immunotherapy for bladder cancer.Ã¢
Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, bcg may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking bcg:
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Before You Start Chemotherapy
You need to have blood tests to make sure its safe to start treatment. You have these either a few days before or on the day you start treatment. You have blood tests before each round or cycle of treatment.
Before each treatment you need to stop drinking fluids. This stops the urine from diluting the drug in your bladder and will help you hold the urine more easily. Your hospital will tell you when to stop drinking.
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What To Do About Changes When You Urinate
Narrator:What to do about changes when you urinate caused by radiation therapy.
Having problems when you urinate? Listen to solutions from other people undergoing radiation therapy. Also, hear advice from Dr. Ross. Then talk with your own doctor or nurse to learn more.
Miguel:Tip number 1: Drink lots of liquids each day.It’s good for your urine to be clear or a pale yellow color. My doctor says that tells you you’re getting enough liquids. Most people find drinking about 8 cups of liquid a day does the trick. Of course, check to make sure that’s the best amount for you, too.
Cara:Tip number 2: Water is wonderful, but you may want more zip in your sip.I like water, but found it was hard to get enough water each day. I was glad to learn that Jell-O and soups also count as liquids. To add some zip to what I drink, I have water with a little lemon and watered-down juices.
Rodney:Tip number 3: Lose the booze.My doctor told me that wine, liquor, or even beer could really bother my bladder. So now I limit these liquids. Some people may need to stay away from wine, liquor, and beer altogether to avoid irritating their bladder.
My doctor also told me to stay away from caffeine in coffee, colas, or teas. They could make my bladder problems worse. I now choose flavored decaf coffees and tasty herbal teas.
Dr. Ross:Hi, I’m Dr. Ross and you just heard 3 great tips to keep bladder problems under control.
- January 23, 2020
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Bladder Side Effects Of Cancer Treatment
Medially reviewed by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. 2/16/22
Some cancer treatments may cause problems with your bladder. Specifically, some chemotherapy drugs, treatments delivered into your bladder and/or radiation to the pelvis can cause an irritation to the lining of your bladder, called cystitis. Cystitis can be severe, causing your bladder to bleed and increasing your risk of infection. This condition can be life-threatening. There is no treatment to reverse cystitis. Tell you doctor immediately if you have cystitis symptoms so that the treatment causing it can be stopped. Preventive measures may be taken if your treatment is likely to cause cystitis.
- What bladder problems may occur as side effects of cancer treatment?
- Which cancer treatments cause cystitis?
- What are the symptoms of cystitis?
- How can bladder problems be treated?
- How can cystitis be prevented?
- What else can I do?
Can Bladder Cancer Impact Sexual Function
It is not uncommon for bladder cancer and its treatments to cause sexual dysfunction in patients.1 The type of effects that a patient experiences depends in large part on the type of treatment for bladder cancer that the patient receives. Patients may experience a decrease in their levels of sexual desire, for both physical and/or emotional reasons. Men may experience issues with getting and maintaining an erection, for example, while women may experience issues with vaginal dryness, irritation or discomfort that can make having sex uncomfortable. However, there are many options for managing and reducing the sexual effects of bladder cancer and many patients are able to regain the ability to have and enjoy sexual activities again.
Chemotherapy For Bladder Cancer
Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is sometimes used to treat bladder cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of chemotherapy. You may also receive other treatments.
Chemotherapy is given for different reasons. You may have chemotherapy to:
- destroy cancer cells in the body
- shrink a tumour before other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy
- destroy cancer cells left behind after surgery and reduce the risk that the cancer will come back
- make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy
- relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced bladder cancer
Chemotherapy for bladder cancer that has not grown into the muscle of the bladder wall is given as intravesical therapy, which means that the drugs are placed directly into the bladder. Chemotherapy may also be a systemic therapy given through a needle into a vein. This means that the drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour in the bladder.
That’s A Lot Of Side Effects
Combined, that’s nearly 70 documented side effects. Of those, at various points, I personally experienced about half of them. I was scheduled for a grueling cycle of 6 rounds. Each round consisted of 2 back-to-back days of treatments. I received each of the cocktail drugs separately in addition to being infused with saline for hydration purposes and anti-nausea and vomiting medications plus Lasix between 2 of the medications. Lasix to keep the drugs from interacting with each other ! Each round was 2 weeks apart.
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What Are Common Side Effects Of Chemo
Side effects are common with chemo, but itâs important to know that they can often be prevented or controlled. The side effects from chemo often go away over time after the treatment ends.
Side effects depend on the type and amount of medicines youre taking. They also depend on the way you receive the medicines . They vary from person to person.
The side effects from intravesical chemo may include:
Burning feeling and irritation in your bladder
Having to urinate more often
An urgent need to urinate
Blood in your urine
Blood in your urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer.
The medical name for this is haematuria and itâs usually painless. You may notice streaks of blood in your urine or the blood may turn your urine brown. The blood isnât always noticeable and it may come and go.
Less common symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- a need to urinate on a more frequent basis
- sudden urges to urinate
- a burning sensation when passing urine
If bladder cancer reaches an advanced stage and begins to spread, symptoms can include:
- pelvic pain
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Intravesical Chemotherapy For Non
Intravesical therapies deliver a drug directly into the bladder through a catheter placed in the urethra instead of by mouth or into a vein. The drug stays in the bladder for one to two hours. Then it is drained out through the catheter or in urine. For early-stage bladder cancer, we may give intravesical chemotherapy after transurethral resection to reduce the chance that the cancer will return. We typically use the drug mitomycin for intravesical chemotherapy.
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