Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Questions To Ask Doctor About Bladder Cancer

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Will My Physical Activity Be Restricted After Surgery

Preparing for an Appointment/Surgery – Questions About Bladder Cancer

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.

Four More Tips For Your Journey


Never put off a doctors appointment or test, even if your check-ups are clear. If you are scheduled for tests or check-ups every three months, six months or every year, it is critical that you keep the appointments. There can be a high rate of recurrence and its important to catch recurrence when it is treatable.


Find out what you can do to improve your health and strengthen your immune system. This may include asking for a referral to a nutritionist or dietitian who can help you with your diet. A basic exercise routine is also a good idea.


When you have any tests or blood work done, be sure to get copies of the results and keep them in a safe place. Ask what the test results mean or research the terms used in the results, so you understand them.


Reach out to other cancer survivors. Your experience will help others. Thats weve all done here at Bladder Cancer Canada its like becoming part of a warm, supportive family.

What Are The Side Effects Of Bladder Cancer Treatment

Treatments for bladder cancer have important benefits, including prolonging life and improving your quality of life.

However, treatments also have side effects. Its important to be aware of the side effects and talk to your doctor about ways to manage them.

Chemotherapy doesnt just kill cancer cells. It also kills healthy cells. As a result, common side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • hair loss
  • an increased risk of infection
  • anemia

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Questions To Ask About Having Therapy Using Medications

  • What type of systemic therapy do you recommend?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How will it be delivered? Through an IV, a catheter, or a pill?

  • How long will it take to give this treatment?

  • Will I receive this treatment at a hospital or clinic? Or will I take it at home?

  • How can I prepare for this treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect during treatment?

  • Who should I contact about any side effects I experience? And how soon?

  • What are the possible long-term effects of this type of chemotherapy?

  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?

Talking To Your Doctor Or Nurse

Bladder Cancer and Questions for your doctor.

To get the most out of your visit you might consider:

  • requesting a longer appointment if you have a number of issues to discuss
  • preparing your questions beforehand
  • taking a friend or relative for support, or writing down answers to your questions if possible
  • asking your doctor to explain again, if you don’t understand the answers
  • asking your doctor to give you a written summary of your treatment plan
  • asking for an interpreter if you have difficulty communicating in English

Read Also: Bladder Cancer Recurrence After 5 Years

What To Know About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is not a widely known disease despite being the 6th most common cancer in the United States. As a urologist who diagnoses and treats bladder cancer, my patients often ask questions about how it develops. My patients also want to know about signs and symptoms related to the disease, and how to lower their risk.

When Youre Told You Have Bladder Cancer

  • What type of bladder cancer do I have?
  • Do you think the cancer has spread beyond my bladder?
  • What is the stage and grade of the cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Will I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see any other doctors?
  • Does my insurance cover treatment? How much will I have to pay? Who can help me find out more about this?

Also Check: How To Empty Bladder Without Catheter

Causes Of Bladder Cancer

There are certain things that can affect the chances of developing bladder cancer. These are called risk factors.

The main risk factor is age. Bladder cancer is more common in people over the age of 60. It is rare in people under the age of 40. Another risk factor is smoking. Smoking may cause about 4 in 10 bladder cancers.

What Kind Of Support And Help Can I Expect

Bladder Cancer and Questions for your doctor.

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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How Long Does Advanced Bladder Cancer Treatment Last

Treatment options for advanced bladder cancer vary from person to person. The length of treatment depends on the overall treatment goals.

In general, most people with advanced bladder cancer receive chemotherapy for 6 to 12 months, depending on how long it takes to reduce cancer cells.

The length of time for immunotherapy also varies depending on the stage of cancer and how your body reacts to treatment.

For example, you may receive treatment every day for 2 or 3 weeks and then take a rest period before restarting treatment.

Treatment can prolong life for people living with advanced bladder cancer. However, in many cases, the disease tends to progress.

Your doctor may recommend that you continue to receive treatment to improve your quality of life.

As the cancer progresses, your doctor may suggest palliative care. You can continue treatment for the cancer while also receiving palliative care, notes the Bladder Care Advocacy Network .

Palliative care is aimed at addressing the physical, emotional, and social aspects of the condition.

It can treat specific physical symptoms, such as nausea and fatigue. It can also help improve your overall quality of life and help you manage stress related to the condition.

The goals of treatment at this stage are usually to:

  • slow the spread of the cancer
  • shrink the size of the affected areas
  • extend your life as long as possible
  • make you comfortable

For example, your health insurance policy will likely cover the cost of:

How Is Bladder Cancer Found

If your urine shows blood , you should be tested for bladder cancer. Many patients will have on and off blood in the urine, so just because the blood goes away, does not mean that you are cancer-free. Your urologist will find bladder cancer with two tests:

  • Imaging test scan). Imaging looks at your kidneys which can be a source of blood in the urine.
  • Cystoscopy . Cystoscopy looks at your bladder lining to detect tumors that can be another source of blood. The test is about 1-2 minutes and is well-tolerated by patients.
  • Recommended Reading: Causes Of Weak Bladder Muscles

    When Deciding On A Treatment Plan

    • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
    • What are my treatment options?
    • What do you recommend and why?
    • What is the goal of each treatment?
    • Should I get a second opinion ? How do I do that? Can you recommend someone?
    • What are the chances my cancer can be cured?
    • If my bladder is removed, what are my options for passing urine? What are the pros and cons of each?
    • How soon do I need to start treatment?
    • What can I do to get ready for treatment?
    • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
    • What risks or side effects should I expect? How long are they likely to last?
    • Will treatment affect my daily activities?
    • How likely is it that the cancer will come back? Is there anything I can do to help lower this risk?
    • What will we do if the treatment doesnt work or if the cancer comes back?

    Questions About Side Effects

    Bladder Cancer
    • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
    • What side effects may happen during or between my treatment sessions?
    • Are there any side effects that I should call you about right away?
    • Are there any lasting effects of the treatment?
    • Will this treatment affect my ability to have children?
    • How can I prevent or treat side effects?

    Also Check: Types Of Bladder Cancer Treatments

    Questions About Life After Hysterectomy Surgery

    If you are having a hysterectomy, it is important that you have reasonable expectations about what the surgery will do for you. These questions should help you determine if the procedure will give you the results you are looking for and the side effects you can expect.

    In some cases, a hysterectomy may cure the condition making the surgery necessary. In other cases, a hysterectomy may only minimize symptoms or provide temporary relief. The following questions will help make sure you understand what type of outcome you can realistically expect after surgery.

    Finding out as much as possible about a “normal” recovery after the procedure you choose will help you plan for any assistance you may need in the weeks following surgery. It is also important to find out what type of follow-up medical care you will require after your recovery. Some women will not require a yearly pap smear after surgery, other women will. It is important to know if you will continue to need this important test, which can detect precancerous and cancerous cells

    What Is Bladder Cancer

    Bladder cancer begins when abnormal cells in the bladders inner lining grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.

    There are different types of bladder cancer:

    • urothelial carcinoma, formally known as transitional cell carcinoma, is the most common form of bladder cancer and starts in the urothelial cells in the bladder wall’s innermost layer
    • squamous cell carcinoma begins in the thin, flat cells that line the bladder
    • adenocarcinoma is a rare form which starts in mucus-producing cells in the bladder and is likely to be invasive.

    It is estimated that there will be 3066 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2021.

    The chances of surviving bladder cancer for five years is 54%.

    Read Also: Home Remedies For Bladder Cancer

    Hints For Talking With Your Doctor

    These tips may help you keep track of the information you and your doctor talk about during your visits:

    • Make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor before your appointment.
    • Bring a friend or family member to sit with you while you talk with your doctor. Some people get very nervous when they visit their doctor. Sometimes you canât remember everything that you talk about with your doctor. A friend or family member can help you remember what you and your doctor talked about.
    • You, or the person who goes with you, may want to take notes during your appointment.
    • Ask your doctor to slow down if you need more time to write down your notes.

    You may want to ask your doctor if you can use a tape recorder during your visit. Take notes from the tape after your visit is over. This way, you can review your talk with your doctor as many times as you want.

    Expert Review And References

    Questions and Answers about Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
    • Alberta Health Services. Muscle Invasive and Locally Advanced/Metastatic Bladder Cancer Clinical Practice Guideline GU-002 . Alberta Health Services 2013: .
    • American Cancer Society. After Bladder Cancer Treatment. 2016: .
    • Cancer Care Ontario. Bladder Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up Care Pathway Map . 2017: .
    • Chang SS, Bochner BH, Chou R, et al. Treatment of non-metastatic muscle-invasive bladder cancer: AUA/ASCO/ASTRO/SUO Guideline. Journal of Urology. 2017: .
    • Chang SS, Boorjian SA, Chou R, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: AUA/SUO Guideline. Journal of Urology. 2016: .
    • National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bladder Cancer .
    • Penn Medicine. All About Bladder Cancer. University of Pennsylvania 2017: .

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    Questions After Tests And Diagnosis

    • What type of bladder cancer do I have?
    • Has my cancer spread beyond thebladder?
    • What is the stage and grade of mycancer? What does that mean?
    • How does this affect my treatment?
    • Do I need any other tests before we candecide on treatment?
    • Do I need to see any other doctors
    • What is the likely outcome of my cancer?

    What Happens Before The Operation

    You will be admitted to the hospital the day of your operation. The anesthesiology team will talk to you about their portion of the surgery. If you are a candidate, you may receive an epidural, which is a good option to manage post-surgery pain. The usual hospital stay is 6 to 8 days. On the day of surgery, your family can wait for you in the surgical waiting area on the first floor of the Ronald Reagan Hospital . It usually takes 4 to 8 hours to complete this operation. On completion of the operation the surgeon will contact your family there.

    A portion of your intestines will be used to create the urinary diversion. It is important that the entire intestine be clean before surgery, and that you prepare your gastrointestinal tract prior to admission to the hospital. Your surgeon will provide you specific instructions for the bowel preparation.

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    Questions To Ask Your Urologist Before Undergoing A Cystectomy For Bladder Cancer

    Karl Marvin Tan MD

    If youve recently been diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer, you may have been advised that youll need a cystectomy to slow or stop the cancer from spreading.

    Your doctor / urologist will take time to explain everything you need to know about cystectomy its risks, benefits, long-term outlook, success rate, among others.

    It can be devastating and daunting to learn that you have an aggressive form of cancer, but bear in mind that you muster all of your strength to participate in your own care. Although the result cannot be assured, a cystectomy can be just what you need to live a long and healthy life.

    In order to effectively manage your treatment, you must ask the right questions. When considering a cystectomy, here are some questions to ask your urologist.

    What To Expect During Your Appointment

    Bladder Cancer: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team ...

    During your doctor’s appointment, you’ll be asked several questions linked to the symptoms you’re experiencing. These questions will allow the doctor to get a better idea of what may be the cause, which will then assist them with deciding which tests should be done. Some of the things the doctor will need to know include:

    • Your medical history, which may include whether you smoke, if you’ve ever had kidney stones, or details about your menstrual cycle.
    • What medications you’re currently taking and the dosage for each.
    • If you’ve had radiation therapy in the past.
    • What your profession is so they can determine ongoing exposure to any chemicals.
    • Whether you’re experiencing any pain, especially while urinating.
    • How often youre seeing blood in your urine regularly, occasionally, or rarely.
    • When during the urine stream you noticed the blood.
    • What color the urine was whether it was slightly tinted with a pink or dark rust color, for example.
    • Whether youve noticed any blood clots during urination and how big they are.

    As the patient, you should come prepared to speak about all the symptoms you’ve been experiencing as well as when they started. Even if you don’t think the symptoms are related to the hematuria, it’s better to give too much information than not enough. Your physician will be able to sort out what is and isn’t crucial information.

    Recommended Reading: Hard To Urinate When Bladder Full

    Essential Questions To Ask When Diagnosed With Bladder Cancer

    Over 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year. Of the new cases, over 62,000 are men, and over 18,000 are women. Whites have higher incidence rates than blacks, although black patients have higher mortality rates, particularly black women. The majority of cases are found with painless gross hematuria . Nearly 80 percent of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer will survive beyond five years. When confronting bladder cancer, these are the ten questions that are essential to ask your urologist:

    1. What type of bladder cancer is present?

    There are various cell/tumor types with different biological behavior and risk factors. The majority of bladder cancers that we deal with are urothelial cancers . Smoking is the greatest risk factor for this tumor, and a small but significant percentage of these patients can have tumor sites within the kidneys and ureters . Other variants seen less commonly in the U.S. include squamous cell cancer, although patients who have chronic catheters or self catheterize are at increased risk to develop this variant.

    2. How large is the tumor?

    Like any other cancer, the size of the tumor has implications for treatment success. Tumors above 3 to 4 cm will likely need multiple procedures, are more likely to recur and will need additional therapy.

    3. Are there multiple tumors?

    Similar to the size, the number of tumors is an indicator of the need for multiple procedures and recurrence risk.

    4. How does the tumor look?

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