Research & Education
Patients need to eat well during cancer therapy. They need enough calories to maintain a good weight and protein to keep up strength. Good nutrition often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy.
But eating well can be difficult. Patients may not feel like eating if they are uncomfortable or tired. Also, the side effects of treatment, such as poor appetite, nausea, or vomiting, can be a problem. Foods may taste different.
Followup care after treatment for bladder cancer is important. Bladder cancer can return in the bladder or elsewhere in the body. Therefore, people who have had bladder cancer may wish to discuss the chance of recurrence with the doctor.
If the bladder was not removed, the doctor will perform cystoscopy and remove any new superficial tumors that are found. Patients also may have urine tests to check for signs of cancer. Followup care may also include blood tests, x-rays, or other tests.
People should not hesitate to discuss followup care with the doctor. Regular followup ensures that the doctor will notice changes so that any problems can be treated as soon as possible. Between checkups, people who have had bladder cancer should report any health problems as soon as they appear.
Rehabilitation is an important part of cancer care. The health care team makes every effort to help the patient return to normal activities as soon as possible.
Patients who have a stoma need to learn to care for it. Enterostomal therapists or nurses can help. These health care specialists often visit patients before surgery to discuss what to expect. They teach patients how to care for themselves and their stomas after surgery. They talk with patients about lifestyle issues, including emotional, physical, and sexual concerns. Often they can provide information about resources and support groups.
Living with a serious disease such as cancer is not easy. Some people find they need help coping with the emotional and practical aspects of their disease. Support groups can help. In these groups, patients or their family members get together to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Patients may want to talk with a member of their health care team about finding a support group.
People living with cancer may worry about caring for their families, holding on to their jobs, or keeping up with daily activities. Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are also common. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team will answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities. Meeting with a social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful to those who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns. Often, a social worker can suggest resources for help with rehabilitation, emotional support, financial aid, transportation, or home care.
Materials on coping are available from the Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER) and through other sources listed in the "National Cancer Institute Information Resources" section. The Cancer Information Service can also provide information to help patients and their families locate programs and services.