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Bladder Cancer - Treatment Overview

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Bladder cancer that comes back

After initial treatment for bladder cancer, it is important to receive follow-up care, because bladder cancer often comes back (recurs). Your doctor will set up a regular schedule of checkups and tests.

Bladder cancer may recur in the bladder, or it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Recurrent bladder cancer may be treated with surgery or chemotherapy to slow cancer growth and relieve symptoms.

Participation in a clinical trial may be recommended if you have been diagnosed with recurrent bladder cancer.

Body image and sexual problems

Sexual problems can be caused by physical or psychological factors related to the cancer or its treatment. You may experience less sexual pleasure or lose your desire to be sexually intimate.

  • Women who have their bladder removed (radical cystectomy) will also have their ovaries and uterus removed. They cannot become pregnant and may experience menopause soon after having this surgery.
  • Men who have their prostate glands and seminal vesicles removed may have erection problems and will no longer produce semen.

Your feelings about your body may change after treatment for cancer. Managing your feelings about your body may involve talking openly about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information.

Supportive care

Cancer treatment has two main goals: curing cancer and making your quality of life as good as possible. Palliative care can improve your quality of life by helping you manage your symptoms. It can also help you with other concerns that you may have when you are living with a serious illness.

For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief.

But this isn't the end of treatment. It can be hard to decide when to stop treatment aimed at prolonging your life and shift the focus to end-of-life care. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care.

For more information, see:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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