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It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. Ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Some questions to consider:

When you’re told you have bladder cancer

  • What type of bladder cancer do I have?
  • Do you think my cancer has spread beyond the bladder?
  • What is the stage and grade of my cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Do I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see any other doctors?
  • If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?

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 urinary diversion? What are the pros and cons of each?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to prepare 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 lower this risk?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?

During treatment

Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you, but getting answers to the ones that do may be helpful.

  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
  • What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
  • How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
  • Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • Should I exercise? What should I do, and how often?
  • Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?

After treatment

  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What kind of exercise should I do now?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • How often will I need to have follow-up exams and tests?
  • How will we know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?
  • What will my options be if the cancer comes back?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down any of your own.

Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, can answer some of your questions. To find more about speaking with your health care team, see Talking With Your Doctor.


Last Medical Review: 01/26/2016
Last Revised: 05/23/2016