This surgery involves the removal of the bladder through an incision in the lower abdomen. It is usually done after a diagnosis of bladder cancer.
The bladder is a hollow organ that holds urine. The urethra is the tube urine goes through as it leaves the bladder and exits the body. Bladder cancer refers to the growth of abnormal cells in the bladder. The growth of these abnormal cells is known as a malignant or cancerous tumor.
Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. This is known as transitional cell bladder cancer. This type of cancer can be:
Other types of bladder cancer are rare, but include:
Your healthcare provider will look to see if your bladder cancer has spread to other areas of the body. This process is called “staging.” Metastatic bladder cancer is cancer that started in the bladder and has spread to other organs and tissues.
Your healthcare provider will need the following clinical information to decide what type of treatment is right for you.
Bladder Cancer Surgical Treatments
There are several surgical treatments for bladder cancer. The surgery your healthcare provider recommends will depend on your specific circumstances and personal preferences.
The costs associated with this care path are for a total cystectomy.
Several factors may raise your chance of developing bladder cancer.
At this time, there is no definite evidence that links artificial sweeteners and bladder cancer.
The symptoms of bladder cancer can also be caused by other common bladder conditions, such as a urinary tract infection. Some of these symptoms include:
As the cancer advances, other symptoms can occur. These symptoms can include weight loss, feeling tired all the time, pain or tenderness in your bones, inability to hold urine, low iron and abdominal pain.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the above symptoms. He or she will go over your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may also recommend one of the following tests:
A biopsy is needed to determine if an abnormality is cancer. If your bladder biopsy indicates you do have bladder cancer, more testing (CT scan or MRI) may be needed.
The treatment for bladder cancer is based on many factors, including:
Treatments are either local (only affects the area of the cancer) or systemic (affects all areas of the body). Local treatments include:
Systemic treatments include:
Treatment for bladder cancer usually involves a combination of local and systemic treatments. You may have more than one type of treatment at a time. Depending on your situation, you may rotate between chemotherapy and radiation before or after surgery.
To get a full range of opinions and perspectives, you may want to consider input from a variety of doctors. This group may include:
If your healthcare provider recommends a cystectomy, prior to the surgery tell them about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). You should also ask about specific instructions to follow before and after the surgery. These include:
If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery from surgical procedures.
During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.
After your surgery, you may need pain medication and help at home while you recover.
It is important to remember that the total cost of this care path does not include all possible medications, lab work or imaging studies. Those charges can add up. If your healthcare provider recommends any lab work or imaging studies, you may need to search for their costs separately.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of bladder cancer. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you've had them.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a cystectomy?
Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home.
Before you go home, make sure you understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects), what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider after discharge and follow-up plans. Your surgeon should also communicate with your primary care physician.
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