Questions to Ask About Treatment for Bladder Cancer

You may feel overwhelmed at first with all the information about treatment options. Give yourself time to gather as much information as you can. Learn about your disease and the treatments. Discuss the issues with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

You may find it helpful to make a list of your questions before seeing your doctor. You can use the list of questions below as a starting place. This list may make it easier to remember what the doctor says, and you may want to take notes. Or ask if you can use a tape recorder. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in discussion, to take notes, or just to listen:

  • What treatment do you think is best for me?

  • What are the goals of my treatment? Are we trying to cure the cancer, to control it, slow it down, shrink it, or to control symptoms it is causing? Treatment is sometimes broadly categorized as "curative" or "palliative" therapy.

  • What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of bladder cancer?

  • Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who is involved in giving me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

  • When will I know if my bladder can be spared?

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect to encounter?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Are there side effects that I need to call you about?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Are there support groups nearby that I can join?

  • What should I do to keep the cancer from returning?

  • What changes might I need to watch for and tell you about so that you can tell me how I’m doing and if the cancer is responding to treatment or not?

Finally, if you or a family member have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you may want to consider getting a second opinion before beginning treatment. Certain health insurance companies require a second opinion for such diagnoses. According to the American Cancer Society, it is very rare that the time it will take to get a second opinion will have a negative impact on your treatment. The peace of mind a second opinion provides may be well worth the effort.