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What You Need To Know About™

Bladder Cancer

  • Posted: 08/30/2010

Rehabilitation

Your health care team will help you return to normal activities as soon as possible. The goals of rehabilitation depend on the extent of disease and surgery.

If the surgeon removes your bladder, you’ll need a new way to store urine. After your bladder is removed, the surgeon uses a piece of your small intestine or large intestine to make a new path for urine to exit the body or be stored. With this piece of intestine, the surgeon can either make a tube that carries urine from the ureters to the outside of the body or create a new bladder that holds urine inside the body.

Your health care team can tell you more about the following options:

  • Bag worn outside your body under your clothing: The surgeon can attach a small piece of intestine to the ureters and to a stoma (an opening in the wall of the abdomen). Urine drains from the ureters through the piece of intestine to the stoma. A flat bag fits over the stoma to collect urine, and special glue holds the bag in place. The bag is emptied several times a day.
  • New bladder or pouch inside your body: The surgeon can create a new bladder or pouch made from a piece of your intestine. The surgeon connects the pouch to the ureters so that urine can flow from the ureters and can be stored in the pouch in the pelvis. The surgeon also connects the pouch either to your urethra or to a stoma in the wall of your abdomen:
    • New bladder connected to your urethra: Because the pouch is joined to your urethra, you will be able to empty your new bladder much as you did before.
    • New bladder connected to a stoma: The surgeon creates a new path for urine to leave your body. The pouch is joined to the stoma, and you will use a catheter (a soft tube) to empty your bladder several times a day. You will not need to wear a bag over the stoma.

    At first, you will empty your bladder every two or three hours. But later on, you should be able to hold the urine for four to six hours.

A wound, ostomy and continence nurse or another member of your health care team will visit you before surgery to describe what to expect. The nurse or doctor will teach you how to care for yourself after surgery. If you need an ostomy, the nurse or doctor will help you decide where the opening should be on your abdomen and will teach you how to care for the stoma after surgery.

Ask your health care team about your physical, emotional, or sexual concerns. Often they can provide information about resources and support groups.