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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Bladder cancer is a tumor (lump) that is in the bladder. The bladder is a round, balloon-like, hollow organ located at the lower part of the abdomen (pelvis). The bladder collects urine from the kidneys and holds the urine until you pass it out.
Normally, the cells in our body divide (split) only when needed. Cancer cells grow and divide without control or order, often making a tumor. Cancer cells may grow into nearby healthy tissue. They may also break away from the tumor and spread through the blood stream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body. When cancer spreads, it is called metastasis. Once cancer cells spread, the cancer is harder to control. The earlier bladder cancer is found and treated, the better are the chances that treatment will be successful.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- If you are getting chemotherapy, it is important to take your medicine exactly as you are told.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Your cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, may change if the cancer is not controlled. This is often decided after you have tests. Write down questions you have about bladder cancer and how it is treated. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.
What can I do to feel better?
- Do not smoke: The best way to help prevent bladder cancer is not to smoke. If you already smoke, quit. Ask your caregiver to help you stop smoking.
- Make your workplace safer: Follow good safety practices if you work with a class of chemicals called aromatic amines. Places where these chemicals are commonly used include where rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles, and paint products are made.
- Rest: Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. You may feel like resting more. Talk to your caregiver if you are having sleeping problems.
- Diet: It is important that you get good nutrition when you have cancer. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Eating healthy foods may help you feel better and have more energy. Ask your caregiver about any extra nutrition you may need, such as nutrition shakes or vitamins.
- Drinking liquids: Drink 6 to 8 glasses (eight-ounce size) of healthy liquids each day. It is especially important to do this if you are vomiting (throwing up) from the chemotherapy. Follow your caregiver's advice if you must change the amount of liquids you drink.
- Healthy liquids for most people to drink are water, juices, and milk.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine may make you urinate too much and lose body fluid. Caffeine may be found in some coffee, tea, soda pop, sports drinks, and food.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You cannot make it to your chemotherapy or radiation visit.
- Your pain gets worse or does not go away after taking your medicine.
- You are vomiting (throwing up) and cannot keep any liquids or food down.
- You have a fever.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your disease, medicine, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You are unable to urinate, and you have pain in your lower abdomen (stomach).
- You have blood in your urine.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.