People with bladder cancer have many treatment options. They may have surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapy. Some patients get a combination of therapies.
The doctor is the best person to describe treatment choices and discuss the expected results of treatment.
A patient may want to talk to the doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. Clinical trials are an important option for people with all stages of bladder cancer. The section on "The Promise of Cancer Research" has more information about clinical trials.
Many people with bladder cancer want to take an active part in decisions about their medical care. They want to learn all they can about their disease and their treatment choices. However, the shock and stress that people often feel after a diagnosis of cancer can make it hard for them to think of everything they want to ask the doctor. Often it helps to make a list of questions before an appointment. To help remember what the doctor says, patients may take notes or ask whether they may use a tape recorder. Some patients also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.
The doctor may refer patients to doctors who specialize in treating cancer, or patients may ask for a referral. Treatment generally begins within a few weeks after the diagnosis. There will be time for patients to talk with the doctor about treatment choices, get a second opinion, and learn more about bladder cancer.