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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Bladder Cancer

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it's essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors 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

To make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what's said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. If you don't, tell the doctor. Ask for educational materials.
  • Ask where you can find more information. 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?
  • What can I change?

About Bladder Cancer

  • What makes you think I might have bladder cancer?
  • How can we find out if I have bladder cancer or not?
  • What tests will I need?
  • How accurate are the test results?
  • Are the problems just in the bladder or in other places?

About Treatment Options

  • What kinds of treatments will work best 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 and complications of the treatments?
  • What's the chance the treatments will cure my bladder cancer?
  • How will we know whether the treatments have been effective or not?
  • Will I have to limit my activities?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What kinds of changes can I make to help make the treatment more effective?
  • What kinds of changes might make me more comfortable?
  • Do you have advice about support groups for myself and my family?

About Outlook

  • How extensive is my cancer?
  • Is it confined to the bladder or has it spread?
  • What is the outlook for my type of bladder cancer?
  • Do my other health problems change this outlook?
  • When I'm done with treatments, how often do I need to be checked to see if it comes back?

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed August 3, 2018.

Questions to ask your doctor about cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Accessed August 3, 2018.

What should you ask your health care team about bladder cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated May 23, 2016. Accessed August 3, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP