Can I Live Without A Bladder If I Have Bladder Cancer
The bladder is the organ in the human body that stores urine temporarily to be released later through the urethra. It is, therefore, a very important part of the body. Unfortunately, in some cases of bladder cancer, the bladder has to be removed.
The removal of the urinary bladder is done through a surgical procedure called “cystectomy.” A cystectomy is normally done in patients with cases of an invasive cancer of the bladder, wherein cancer has already spread to the surrounding tissues or organs. In other procedures such as radical cystectomy, it is not only the bladder that is removed but also some of the surrounding organs.
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There are various types of surgeries that can be done to remove the bladder. To some people with bladder cancer, they may only need a partial removal of their bladder. Others may need their whole bladder be removed, while some may need the removal of their bladder and other organs.
However, having a bladder removal does not mean that you will not continue to live just because you do not have a bladder anymore. It is still possible to continue living a healthy life even after your bladder is removed. To understand bladder removal better, it is important to know the various surgical procedures that are involved in the removal of the bladder.
Could You Survive Without Your Urinary Bladder
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Can I Live Without My Bladder
Yes. You can live without a bladder. However, you still need something that can perform the two basic functions of the bladder: storing and emptying of urine. Physicians have come up with many ways over the years to accomplish these tasks, many of which are still used today. The simplest alternative is to place drainage tubes into the kidneys that come out through the skin and connect to bags on the abdomen. These tubes are known as nephrostomy tubes.
Nephrostomy tubes are typically inserted into a person in the X-ray department by an interventional radiologist who uses some light sedation. For the patient, the bag provides an easy way to store urine and can be drained several times a day when convenient by opening a small valve on the bag. These tubes can be uncomfortable, however, and may also be easily removed if tugged therefore, they are only reasonable solutions for a short period of time or for patients who are too ill to undergo surgery. It is also possible to surgically bring the ureters directly to the skin surface .
This is called a continent urinary diversion. With this type of diversion, you must pass a catheter into the new bladder several times a day to drain the urine. This allows you to live without an ostomy bag, but for some patients, passing the catheter several times a day may be difficult or impossible. Third, the new bladder can be directly reattached to the urethra .
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What Does The Pancreas Do
The pancreas is a gland located in your abdomen, underneath your stomach. Its shaped like a large tadpole, with a round head and a thinner, tapered body. The head is curved into the duodenum, the first part of your small intestine. The body of the pancreas sits between your stomach and spine.
The pancreas has two kinds of cells. Each type of cell produces a different substance.
- Endocrine cellsproduce the hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide. Insulin helps lower blood sugar, and glucagon raises blood sugar.
- Exocrine cellsproduce enzymes that help digest food in the intestine. Trypsin and chymotrypsin break down proteins. Amylase digests carbohydrates, and lipase breaks down fats.
What Kind Of Support And Help Can I Expect
You will not go through this surgery alone.While in the hospital you will be given instructions on the care of your catheters and stents. A nurse specializing in stomas will see you several times if you have a stoma. For many of our patients, visiting nurses will come to your home daily to help you care for your drains and check on you after you are discharged from the hospital.
A radical cystectomy and urinary diversion can present a difficult emotional adjustment. Support is available to help patients deal with this impact on their lives. A social worker is part of the team to care for patients while in the hospital. Patients or their families can request a social worker to help provide emotional support during this difficult time. After discharge, the social worker can provide names and numbers of support groups. You can call 825-7171 to talk to the social workers.
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Ask Your Doctor For A Survivorship Care Plan
Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:
- A suggested schedule for follow-up exams and tests
- A schedule for other tests you might need in the future, such as early detection tests for other types of cancer, or tests to look for long-term health effects from your cancer or its treatment
- A list of possible late- or long-term side effects from your treatment, including what to watch for and when you should contact your doctor
- Diet and physical activity suggestions
- Reminders to keep your appointments with your primary care provider , who will monitor your general health care.
What Happens After The Operation
After the operation, you will be taken to the recovery room until you are awake and stable. Any pain or discomfort will be relieved with medications. Many patients will have an epidural, while others will receive narcotics as needed. Some patients will need to stay in the Intensive Care Unit , while most will be transferred to a regular hospital room.
Depending on the specifics of your surgery, you may have a tube placed into your nose to decompress the stomach. You will be able to start drinking liquids when your intestines begin to recover. Intravenous fluids will provide nutrition in the meantime. Drinking and eating too soon may lead to nausea or vomiting. You will also not have a bowel movement for several days after surgery until the intestines recover.
It is important to sit up and walk starting as early as the day after surgery. This will help prevent serious complications such as pneumonia and blood clots to form in the legs. Nurses and physical therapists will assist you as needed.
When you go home, most patients will be prescribed medication for pain and medication to prevent constipation, a common side effect from pain medication. Some patients may be given antibiotics. Take these as directed.
It takes about 5 working days for the pathology to return. Generally you will still be in the hospital. If not, we will call you with the results. Based on the pathology, we may discuss with you future treatments that may be necessary.
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Sexual Effects Of Urostomy
Its normal for both men and women to be concerned about having a sex life with a urostomy. Having your ostomy pouch fit correctly and emptying it before sex reduces the chances of a major leak. A pouch cover or small ostomy pouch can be worn with a sash to keep the pouch out of the way. Wearing a snug fitting shirt may be more comfortable. Choose sexual positions that keep your partners weight from rubbing against the pouch. For more tips, see Urostomy Guide.
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If A Loved One Declines Treatment
If a loved one decides to forego lung cancer treatment, it can be a difficult, heart-wrenching thing to hear. You may not be able to fully comprehend it at first. In such instances, let your loved one know that you hear them and love them, but that you need a day or two to process the news.
If you do decide you need more information, ask compassionately. Avoid judgmental questions starting with why, and give your loved one time to express themselves fully without interruption or displays of panic or disapproval.
In the end, there will come a time when you need to respect your loved ones decision, however hard that may be. Acceptance will ultimately make you a better caregiver and prepare you emotionally for when your loved one is no longer with you.
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Types Of Bone Metastases
Normally your bones are constantly changing. New bone tissue is being formed and old bone tissue is breaking down into minerals that circulate in your blood. This process is called remodeling.
Cancer cells upset the normal process of bone remodeling, causing bones to become weak or too dense, depending on the type of bone cells affected.
Your bone metastases may be:
- osteoblastic, if there are too many new bone cells
- osteolytic, if too much bone is destroyed
In some cases, your bones may have both types of metastases.
Will My Physical Activity Be Restricted After Surgery
It is critical to remain active even while you are recovering from surgery. Walking every day is important and will speed up the healing process, decrease depression, and increase muscle tone. It takes approximately 6 weeks for the surgical area to heal completely. Please do not do any heavy lifting, strenuous exercises, or excessive stair climbing during this time. You may drive a car 3 to 4 weeks after surgery if you feel well and are not taking any more prescription pain medications.
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What Is The Survival Rate For Bladder Removal Surgery
Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. It may include some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. Surgical options may include transurethral resection, partial or complete removal of the bladder, or urinary diversion. Typical five-year survival rates in the United States are 77%.
What is the life expectancy after bladder removal?
If youve had your bladder removed, youll need to get used to a new way to pass urine from your body. The operation you had, called a cystectomy, is a lifelong change. You may have to bathe differently and adjust your travel habits. It can affect your body image, and you may worry about its impact on your relationships and sex life.
What to expect after bladder removal surgery?
A person can expect to stay in the hospital for around one week after bladder removal surgery. A person is put under general anesthesia during surgery to remove the bladder. The person is likely to feel groggy from the anesthesia when waking up immediately following the surgery.
What is the recovery time after bladder removal?
After leaving the hospital, a person should expect to take several weeks for recovery. During this time, their body heals from the surgery, and they should only perform light activities. After 4 to 6 weeks, doctors will usually allow a person who has had their bladder removed to resume normal activities.
Device Issues And Urinating In A New Way
Tami Walker is a WOC nurse at the University of Michigan, and she sees her job as not only treating patients physical wounds, but also rebuilding their self-esteem. The surgeon goes through a lot of the clinical part of it, Walker says, but not how to live every day. Although Walker counsels some neobladder patients pre-operatively, she spends most of her time helping patients with their urostomies: Walker introduces them to different pouching systems shows them how they attach to the stoma, empty out, and need to be replaced and provides direct care for complications.
General leakage from not having the proper fit is the biggest problem, she says. The adhesive on urostomy pouches doesnt always stick well to a patients abdomen, especially as their body contour shifts in the first eight weeks after surgery.
Months after her operation, Florida resident Nikki Saltzburg, 44, is still trying to figure out how her stoma works. Every time she changes her urostomy bag, she carries a toolbox of materials into the bathroom: an anti-adhesive aerosol to remove the old pouch, a stencil and pair of scissors to cut a hole in the new pouch, a sticky paste to attach the pouch to her stoma, and a handheld fan to dry her skin. It still takes me a while, and the challenge is the stoma doesnt stop leaking urine, Saltzburg says, so urine can be running down your stomach or spraying somewhere.
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How Turbt Is Done
This surgery is done using an instrument put in through your urethra, so there’s no cutting into the abdomen . You’ll get either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia .
A type of thin, rigid cystoscope called a resectoscopeis put into your bladder through your urethra. The resectoscope has a wire loop at the end that’s used to remove any abnormal tissues or tumors. The removed tissue is sent to a lab for testing.
After the tumor is removed, more steps may be taken to try to ensure that the cancer has been completely destroyed. For instance, the tissue in the area where the tumor was may be burned while looking at it with the resectoscope. This is called fulguration. Cancer cells can also be destroyed using a high-energy laser through the resectoscope.
Managing Life After Bladder Removal
It takes some time to adjust to the changes after bladder removal. Its not uncommon for patients to have difficulty controlling their bladder following surgery, depending on the urinary diversion that is done. For this reason, incontinence pads or briefs may need to be worn for a period of time. Patients can also expect regular follow-up care and appointments to ensure the urinary diversion drains appropriately.
Doctors typically advise restricting certain strenuous activities until about six weeks post-surgery. These activities include lifting, driving, bathing, and even working, depending on your profession.
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When Should I Call My Doctor
Let your doctor know if you think you may have an infection. Also tell them if:
- You have bleeding from the stoma that doesnât stop with a little pressure.
- You have pain, cramping, or swelling in your belly.
- Your pouch leaks regularly or doesnât stay in place.
- Your skin around the stoma keeps getting red or sore.
- The stoma turns dark purple, brown, or black.
What Are The Types Of Bladder Surgeries
Most bladder surgeries are now done robotically, meaning that your surgeon will just make a small number of incisions and then place ports that allow the use of robotic arms to perform the surgery. Few are open surgeries where theres a long cut. Types of surgeries include:
Bladder cancer is the most common reason for people to undergo bladder surgery. Depending on the stage and progression of bladder cancer, surgery can be used in combination with other therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. To treat bladder cancer, many different types of procedures may be done. Those procedures include:
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Risks And Side Effects Of Cystectomy
The risks with any type of cystectomy are much like those with any major surgery. Problems during or shortly after surgery can include:
- Reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Damage to nearby organs
Most people will have at least some pain after the operation, which can be controlled with pain medicines.
What Are The Possible Complications Of Bladder Surgery
There can be complications of bladder surgery. You are at higher risk if you are over the age of 60 or designated female at birth. Possible problems include:
- Gastrointestinal problems: Abdominal surgeries can interfere with your bowel functions. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to handle GI issues.
- Reproductive health in men: Bladder cancer can spread to your prostate. During bladder surgery, your prostate may also be removed, which may impact your fertility.
- Reproductive health in women: If your uterus is removed as part of bladder cancer surgery, you won’t be able to get pregnant.
- Urinary diversion: If you have a procedure that reroutes your urine , you may have complications. Pee could leak from the opening made in your body, and there could be an infection.
- Hormonal changes: If your bladder cancer has spread to your ovaries, they may need to be removed. Menopause will begin.
- Inability to urinate: Some people, especially women who have had more than their bladder removed, are unable to pee right away. This usually lasts no longer than a week. Youll be given a catheter and a leg bag . Your healthcare provider will teach you how to operate the equipment.
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Can You Live Without A Gallbladder
Located in the upper right part of the abdomen, the gallbladder helps you digest fat by releasing fat-digesting bile into your small intestine. The process takes place through bile ducts that can get clogged due to gallstones. Any blockage in the gallbladder may lead to severe pain, especially after eating a fatty meal. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove the gallbladder entirely to prevent pain and discomfort. It makes many people ask if you can live without a gallbladder. Letâs find out more about it.
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If The Cancer Comes Back
If the cancer does recur at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is located, what treatments youve had before, and your health. For more information on how recurrent bladder cancer is treated, see Treatment of Bladder Cancer, by Stage.
For more general information on recurrence, you may also want to see Understanding Recurrence.
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