Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Bladder Cancer
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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with bladder cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary. Ask for educational brochures and handouts.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
About Your Risk of Developing Bladder Cancer
- Do I have any specific risk factors for bladder cancer?
- How much of a risk of developing bladder cancer do I face?
- Are there any risk factors that I can change?
About Bladder Cancer
- What makes you think I might have bladder cancer?
- How can we determine whether or not I have bladder cancer?
- Can you explain the tests I need?
- How accurate are the test results?
- What parts of the body are involved in my case? Is it restricted to the bladder?
About Treatment Options
- What kinds of treatments are appropriate for me?
- Will I need more than one type of treatment?
- Will I need to have my bladder removed?
- How will I function after that surgery?
- How long will my treatments last?
- What are the potential side effects/complications of the treatments?
- What is the chance that the recommended treatments will cure my bladder cancer?
- How will we know whether the treatments have been effective or not?
- While I’m receiving treatment for bladder cancer, will I be able to participate in my usual activities?
About Lifestyle Changes
- What kinds of lifestyle changes can I make so that I can work with the treatments to fight bladder cancer?
- What kinds of lifestyle changes might make me more comfortable while I’m going through treatments?
- Do you have recommendations for any support groups for myself and my family?
- How extensive is my cancer?
- Is it confined to the bladder, or is it elsewhere in my body as well?
- What kind of prognosis does my kind of bladder cancer have?
- How do my other medical conditions affect my prognosis?
- Once I’ve completed treatments, what will we do to monitor whether the cancer returns?
Campell’s Urology. 8th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier Science; 2002: 2732-2765.
Cecil Textbook of Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002: 633-634.
Conn’s Current Therapy. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002: 720-721.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for bladder cancer. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. Available at http://www.ahcpr.gov/clinic/2ndcps/bladdcan.pdf . Accessed December 2002.
What you need to know about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/bladder . Accessed December 2002.
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Adrienne Carmack, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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