Choosing your treatment
Your care team will explain the options and the possible treatment sequence. Your doctors will help you make an informed decision about which options may be right for you.
The best treatment for one person might not be the best treatment for another. There are three topics to consider when discussing with your doctor what works best for you.
Your care team will recommend treatment options based on your specific diagnosis. Different types of treatment for bladder cancer have different goals, such as:
- Slowing or stopping the growth of cancer
- Destroying cancer cells in the bladder
- Destroying any cancer cells that may have spread (metastasized) outside the bladder
- Delaying or preventing cancer from coming back (recurrence)
- Managing symptoms of incurable cancer
Personal treatment goals
As you and your care team discuss and make decisions about your treatment plan, it helps to think about your goals for treatment. These goals are different for each person, but health and quality of life are likely at the top of your list. Within those two priorities, there are several questions to consider:
- What’s important to me?
- What do I value?
- What do I need from my relationships?
- What do I want from the treatment experience?
It’s important for your loved ones to understand your treatment goals and wishes, so talk to them. You can ask family and friends for emotional support and help with a variety of issues during your care journey.
The effect of treatment on everyday life
Your care team can help you understand how various treatments can help you achieve your goals. Discuss what you want to be able to do, both during treatment and after it is complete. Issues specific to your health include:
- Treatment: How bladder cancer and treatments will affect you and your ability to continue your everyday activities at work and home
- Side effects and symptoms: How to manage and cope with disease symptoms and treatment side effects
- Balance: Ways to balance aggressive treatment that prolongs survival with side effect management that maintains a good quality of life
- Fertility: Ways to preserve fertility while still getting the most effective treatment
Other important issues to consider include:
- Communication: Ways to talk to your family, friends, and others (such as co-workers) about your diagnosis, and how to ask for help
- Emotional well-being: How to manage your own emotions and the emotional impact of your diagnosis on your family and friends
- Relationships: How to maintain relationships with your partner, family, and friends, including intimacy, everyday activities, and responsibilities
- Appearance and body image: Ways to cope with changes that may result from treatment and the cancer itself
- Daily activities: How to take care of yourself, look after your family, and balance work responsibilities while undergoing bladder cancer treatment
Travel and distance: How to manage family and work responsibilities if you are coming to Stanford from outside the Bay Area.