Living As A Bladder Cancer Survivor
For some people with bladder cancer , treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, but find it hard not to worry about cancer coming back. This is very common if youve had cancer.
For other people, bladder cancer might never go away completely or might come back in another part of the body. Some people may get regular treatment with chemotherapy , immunotherapy, or other treatments to try to keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn’t go away can be difficult and very stressful.
Life after bladder cancer means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.
Removing The Whole Bladder
A radical cystectomy means taking out the whole bladder and the nearby lymph nodes.
You may also have part of your bowel removed. This is so your surgeon can create another way for your body to collect and pass urine. It’s called a recto sigmoid pouch. Your surgeon will discuss this with you beforehand if you’re having this operation.
Monitoring For Bladder Cancer Recurrence
Those who have already been treated for bladder cancer have unique monitoring needs to protect against the threat of recurrence. Generally doctors recommend a cystoscopy to examine the inside of the bladder and urethra every 3 to 12 months, depending on your risk of recurrence, for several years after bladder cancer treatment. If several years of surveillance have gone by and no cancer recurrence has been detected, a cystoscopy once a year may be enough, though the final decision rests with the doctor and additional testing may be required depending on the nature and severity of the original cancer.
If youre recovering from treatment, ask your doctor about Cxbladder. Cxbladder is an accurate and non-invasive surveillance alternative designed to detect or rule out the return of bladder cancer. The test provides reliable results with a single urine sample, reducing the need for frequent cystoscopies in some patients, which can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient.Learn more about Cxbladder
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How Long Will You Live If You Have Bladder Cancer
The survival rate depends on the stage of cancer at diagnosis and other health issues.
Overall, 70 to 90 percent of people with localized bladder cancer will live for at least five years or more. The physician calculates this with the help of survival rates. Survival rates indicate the percentage of people who live with a certain type of cancer for a specific time. The physician often uses an overall five-year survival rate. Factors that may affect survival rate include
Table. Five-year survival rates of different stages of bladder cancer
|Bladder cancer SEER stages||Five-year relative survival rate|
|In situ alone||96|
|All SEER stages combined||77|
The surveillance, epidemiology, and end results stages are taken from the SEER database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute. SEER database groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages.
- Localized: There is no indication that cancer has spread outside the bladder.
- Regional: Cancer has invaded the nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant: Cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bones.
Thus, bladder cancer, if detected in the early stage is treatable and has higher survival rates. However, if the cancer is detected in the advanced stages, treatment becomes difficult and the survival rate is low.
Can I Shower Bathe And Swim With A Urostomy
A stoma is a one-way door, so waterâs not a problem. You can shower and bathe with or without your pouch. But itâs best not to use bath oils or soaps with moisturizer.
Swimming isnât a problem, either. It helps to:
- Wear a smaller bag or a waterproof cover when you swim.
- Wear your pouch, but empty it before you get into the water.
- Use waterproof tape around the edges of the pouch.
- Wait a few hours after you put on a new pouch before you swim.
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What Is A 5
A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of bladder cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of bladder cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
Basic Skin Care With A Urostomy
- Be gentle when you remove the pouch.
- Change your pouch as often as your nurse tells you to. Doing it too often or not enough can cause skin problems.
- Donât use more tape than you need.
- Make sure your pouch fits your bodyâs shape.
- Measure your stoma carefully so you can cut your pouchâs skin barrier to fit closely.
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Low Grade And High Grade Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer starts in the lining of the bladder in about 90 percent of people diagnosed with this cancer. Bladder cancer is called low grade or high grade.
- Low-grade bladder cancer means the cancer has not invaded the muscles around the bladder . People rarely die from this type of bladder cancer, it often recurs after treatment.
- High-grade bladder cancer also often recurs and has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body. Almost all deaths from bladder cancer result this type so it is treated more aggressively.
What Should I Expect From Cystectomy
Your surgeon may remove part of your bladder or the entire bladder .
- Partial cystectomy: Only a part of the bladder is removed. Usually, nearby lymph nodes are removed as well to determine whether any cancer has spread beyond the bladder. Lymph nodes are small bundles of tissue that filter your bodys lymph fluid and produce immune system cells. The remaining bladder is repaired and stays in the body.
- Radical cystectomy: Surgeons remove the entire bladder and nearby lymph nodes. In men, surgeons almost always cut the vas deferens and remove the prostate and seminal vesicles . In women, doctors often also remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and occasionally part of the vaginal wall.
Surgeons perform bladder removal surgery using one of two different surgical approaches:
If radical cystectomy is performed, your surgeon will reconstruct the urinary tract in one of three ways so that the urine you produce can be eliminated from your body. These methods include:
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Is Bladder Cancer Treatable
Many types of therapy are used to treat bladder cancer. In general, the treatment pathway chosen depends on the type and stage of bladder cancer present and a patients overall health and individual preferences. Common treatment options include:
- Surgery: to remove tumor cells and surrounding tissue. The type of surgery used depends on factors such as the size and progression of the tumor.
- Chemotherapy: which refers to the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be local or systemic .
- Immunotherapy: which uses naturally occurring or man-made substances to improve or bolster the bodys immune system function. Like with chemotherapy, immunotherapy may be delivered locally or systemically.
- Radiation therapy: which uses x-rays or other high-energy waves or particles to kill cancer cells.
How Is Bladder Cancer Treated
Treatment for bladder cancer depends on
- The stage of cancer.
- If cancer has spread beyond the lining of the bladder.
- The extent of cancer spread.
Treatment options based on tumor grade
- High-grade bladder cancer: High-grade cancers that are life-threatening and spread quickly need to be treated with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
- Low-grade cancers: Less aggressive cancers have a low chance of becoming high grade and do not require aggressive treatments, such as radiation or bladder removal.
Treatment options may vary depending on the tumor stage.
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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.
Digestive Problems After Gallbladder Removal
In the first few weeks after a gallbladder removal surgery, surgeons typically recommend the patients to consume a mostly low-fat diet as the body adjusts to living without a gallbladder. Eventually, most patients resume eating the way they did before. The most common change in the digestion of the patient after the surgery is more frequent bowel movements.
However, people who have trouble digesting their food after the surgery can make the following lifestyle changes.
- Avoid consuming fatty foods, such as fried foods
- Eat small and frequent meals
- Do not eat a very large dinner after fasting all-day
- Lessen the caffeine intake
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Cystectomy
Your recovery depends on the type of bladder removal surgery you have. Typically, patients who undergo a partial cystectomy will have a shorter recovery period compared with patients who undergo a radical cystectomy. Many patients will have poor appetite and abnormal bowel function immediately after radical cystectomy, and complete recovery may take several weeks to months.
What Is The First Sign Of Bladder Cancer
Blood in the urine, referred to as hematuria, is usually the first sign of bladder cancer. This is because early bladder cancer commonly causes bleeding without associated pain or other symptoms.
- Depending on the amount of blood present, urine may appear pink, red, or brownish in color.
- Blood may not be present all the time – there may be relatively long periods of clear urine .
If you have noticed blood in your urine it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Other early symptoms of bladder cancer that may be experienced are urinary irritation or changes in bladder habits, such as increased urination frequency and/or urgency, pain or a burning sensation during urination, or difficulty passing urine.
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Treating Stage Iv Bladder Cancer
These cancers have reached the pelvic or abdominal wall , may have spread to nearby lymph nodes , and/or have spread to distant parts of the body . Stage IV cancers are very hard to get rid of completely.
Chemotherapy is usually the first treatment if the cancer has not spread to distant parts of the body . The tumor is then rechecked. If it appears to be gone, chemo with or without radiation or cystectomy are options. If there are still signs of cancer in the bladder, chemo with or without radiation, changing to another kind of chemo, trying an immunotherapy drug, or cystectomy may be recommended.
Chemo is typically the first treatment when bladder cancer has spread to distant parts of the body . After this treatment the cancer is rechecked. If it looks like its gone, a boost of radiation to the bladder may be given or cystectomy might be done. If there are still signs of cancer, options might include chemo, radiation, both at the same time, or immunotherapy.
In most cases surgery cant remove all of the cancer, so treatment is usually aimed at slowing the cancers growth and spread to help people live longer and feel better. If surgery is a treatment option, its important to understand the goal of the operation whether its to try to cure the cancer, to help a person live longer, or to help prevent or relieve symptoms from the cancer.
Because treatment is unlikely to cure these cancers, many experts recommend taking part in a clinical trial.
Removing Part Of The Bladder
Removing part of the bladder is not a common operation for bladder cancer. It is usually used to treat the very rare type of cancer called adenocarcinoma of the bladder.
After having a partial cystectomy, you can pass urine in the normal way. But your bladder will be smaller so you may need to go to the toilet more often.
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What Is Stage 4 Bladder Cancer
Being diagnosed with bladder cancer can be overwhelming, especially if its stage 4.
Stage 4 bladder cancer is the most advanced stage and carries the worst prognosis. Many cancer treatments will be both difficult and challenging.
However, treatment can reduce or even eliminate your symptoms and help you live a longer, more comfortable life.
Its important to consider the pros and cons of treating stage 4 bladder cancer because treatments come with side effects and risks.
Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- blood or blood clots in your urine
- pain or burning during urination
- frequent urination
- needing to urinate at night
- needing to urinate but not being able to
- lower back pain on one side of the body
These symptoms commonly lead to a diagnosis, but they arent unique to stage 4 bladder cancer.
Stage 4 bladder cancer is also called metastatic bladder cancer. This means the cancer has spread outside of the bladder into other parts of the body.
People with metastatic cancer may experience symptoms relating to where the cancer has spread. For example, if a persons bladder cancer has spread to their lungs, they may experience chest pain or increased coughing.
Metastatic bladder cancer is difficult to cure because it has already traveled to other parts of the body. The later youre diagnosed and the farther the cancer has traveled, the less chance that your cancer will be cured.
The 5-year survival rate is the rate of surviving for 5 years after a cancer diagnosis.
If Youre Concerned About Bladder Cancer Talk To Your Doctor About Cxbladder
Cxbladder is a cutting-edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer. The test combines clinical risk factor markers with genetic information, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer in hematuria patients and those being monitored for recurrence.
Cxbladder comes as a suite of tests, each optimised for a different point in the patient journey:
- Cxbladder Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help quickly rule out the disease.
- Cxbladder Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Cxbladder Monitor: A non-invasive surveillance alternative that can reduce the need for frequent cystoscopies.
Cxbladder gives you peace of mind and will help your physician make informed treatment decisions.
Speak to your doctor or urologist to learn more about Cxbladder and which test might be right for you. You can also contact our Customer Service Team directly.Learn more about Cxbladder Contact us for more information
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A Stoma Or A Neobladder
Anyone having their bladder removed as a treatment for bladder cancer will need another way to wee after the operation. The two main choices in the UK are a stoma which is a hole in the abdomen, or a neobladder, a replacement bladder created out of tissue from the bowel.
Your consultant will explain the options to you and your individual choices. Not everyone is suitable for both procedures. Every person is different physically and mentally so what might be right for one person may not be right for another.
Recovering After Her Bladder Removal Surgery
Going into surgery was scary because I didnt even know what I would have when I woke up, Toni says.
Toni says her significant other, Matt was a huge part of my surgery and recovery.
Much to her relief, she awoke from the operation in October 2021 with a neobladder. She stayed in the hospital for 12 days while her digestive system slowly regained its normal function.
After Toni went home, she struggled at first to adjust and experienced leakage from her new bladder. But Dr. Bochner reassured her this was normal. He remained completely confident in her recovery and told her to keep doing her Kegel exercises which strengthen pelvic muscles.
He kept saying: Dont worry. Youre going to be just fine, Toni recalls. He never wavered. Hes an amazing guy. I just had to learn a new way of going to the bathroom, and sure enough, I figured it out. My life went mostly back to how it was.
The same was true for the patients in the recent study. About half received neobladders and half had ileal conduits. Those with ileal conduits had lower scores for body image but reported their physical function and emotional and mental health returned to normal. At the six-month mark, both groups reported their mood and anxiety levels were better than before the surgery.
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Outlook For Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer
Many men with locally advanced prostate cancer have treatment that aims to get rid of their cancer. For some men, this treatment can be very successful and they may live for many years without their cancer coming back or causing them any problems. For others, treatment may be less successful and the cancer may come back. If this happens, you might need further treatment. Read more about the risk of your cancer coming back.
Some men with locally advanced prostate cancer will have treatment that aims to help keep their cancer under control rather than get rid of it completely. For example, if you have hormone therapy on its own, it can help to keep the cancer under control, usually for several years. And there are other treatments available if your hormone therapy stops working.