Although medical treatments are fairly standardized, different doctors have different philosophies and practices in caring for their patients.
- You may want to talk to more than one urologist to find the one with whom you feel most comfortable. Clinical experience in treating bladder cancer is of the utmost importance.
- Talk to family members, friends, and your health-care provider to get referrals. Many communities, medical societies, and cancer centers offer telephone or Internet referral services.
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After you have chosen a urologist to treat your cancer, you will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss the treatments available to you.
- Your doctor will describe each type of treatment, give you the pros and cons, and make recommendations based on published treatment guidelines and his or her own experience.
- Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage. Factors such as your age, your overall health, and whether you have already been treated for the cancer before are included in the treatment decision-making process.
- The decision of which treatment to pursue is made with your doctor (with input from other members of your care team) and your family members, but the decision is ultimately yours.
- Be certain you understand exactly what will be done and why, and what you can expect from your choices. With bladder cancer, understanding the side effects of treatment is especially important.
Like all cancers, bladder cancer is most likely to be cured if it is diagnosed early and treated promptly.
- The most widely used therapies are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, either alone or in combination.
- Immunotherapy or biological therapy, which takes advantage of the body’s innate cancer-fighting ability, is used in some cases, especially for patients with stages Ta, T1, and CIS.
- Your treatment plan will be individualized for your specific situation. Your treatment team will also include one or more nurses, a dietitian, a social worker, and other professionals as needed.
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