Bladder Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about bladder cancer?

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

  • 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 other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors?
  • 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?
  • What are the chances my cancer can be cured?
  • What risks or side effects should I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want to ask about getting a second opinion or about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Keep in mind, too, that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.

Last Medical Review: 02/26/2014
Last Revised: 02/25/2015