Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Bladder Cancer

Lifestyle changes can help:

  • Keep your body strong so you can get through your treatments.
  • Optimize how your immune system works so you can fight against cancer.
  • Make your emotional outlook better, so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Avoid other problems that could complicate your health.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a known risk factor for many cancers and other health problems. It can also make the chances of having problems from treatment higher. Smoking also slows the rate of healing

When you quit smoking, the body starts to heal right away. Quitting will help boost your immune system to help fight the cancer and help you get better faster during treatment.

Reduce Your Risk of Infection

Cancer and its treatments make it harder for your body to fight infection. This may make them more frequent or take them longer to go away. This can happen with common ones such as a cold or the flu. To lower your chances of infection:

  • Wash hands carefully and often. Hand washing is the best way to lower the chances of catching colds and flu. Carry hand sanitizer for times when you can't wash.
  • Try to stay away from crowds, especially during cold and flu season.
  • Don't touch your eyes, mouth, and nose after touching surfaces or objects.
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces and objects often.
  • Ask your doctor about getting vaccines for the flu and pneumonia.

Make Dietary Changes

A healthful diet can help your body and mind. Making healthy choices provides fuel to help your body work at its best. It also gives your body nutrition to help heal it faster. Eating the right foods will also make you feel better.

Cancer and its treatments can make you feel less hungry. Make the most of the calories you eat. A dietitian can help you with common eating problems. They can also help you plan meals.

Exercise Regularly

If you have not been exercising on a steady basis, check with your doctor to choose a safe program. Exercise has many benefits. It helps with:

  • Overall fitness
  • Boosting your energy level
  • Making your immune system work better
  • Boosting your spirits and improving your outlook

Talk with a trainer to help you set goals. They will also help you do it safely, especially when starting out. While adding exercise, be sure to balance it with rest.

Manage Fatigue

Fatigue is the most common problem with cancer and cancer treatments. To keep from getting overtired, prioritize tasks and focus on the most important ones. It is important to allow others to help you with daily chores, shopping, and making meals. If needed, plan time to rest during the day.

Talk to your doctor if fatigue affects your quality of life.

Seek Support

Cancer is a life-defining event that can be hard to handle. It can be overwhelming to think and worry about treatment, changes, and uncertainty. Be sure to rely on family, friends, and other people in your life. People who allow themselves to seek help while they are recovering from cancer can often have a better emotional balance. Other sources:

  • Religious groups
  • Support groups for people with your type of cancer
  • Social workers and mental health professionals who are trained to help

Family and caregivers may also need support. Encourage them to seek support groups or counseling geared toward them.

Comfort Measures

Bladder cancer found in later stages can be harder to treat. Some people choose treatments to help ease symptoms. Others choose to fully stop it. For some people, it may be realistic to start end-of-life planning. Aspects may include:

  • Choosing home or hospice care
  • Financial decisions
  • Advance directives—includes legal issues, like wills, hospital orders for your care, and power of attorney for medical care and finances
  • Insurance coverage

If you need guidance, talk to your healthcare team. You can be referred to a trained professional to guide you through the process.

REFERENCES:

Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115106/Bladder-cancer. Updated June 26, 2018. Accessed August 2, 2018.

Bladder cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/bladder-cancer. Updated October 2017. Accessed August 2, 2018.

End of life care. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/end-of-life-care.html. Accessed August 2, 2018.

Preventing the flu: Good health habits can help stop germs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/index.htm. Updated July 20, 2018. Accessed August 2, 2018.

Stay healthy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/healthy.html. Accessed August 2, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 8/2/2018