Bladder Cancer – Home Treatment

If you are receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat any stage of bladder cancer, you can use home treatment to help manage the side effects that may be caused by these treatments. Home treatment may be all that is needed to manage the common problems listed below. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat these symptoms, be sure to follow them. In general, healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise can help control your symptoms.

* Home treatment for nausea or vomiting includes watching for and treating early signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, sticky saliva, and reduced urine output with dark yellow urine. Older adults can quickly become dehydrated from vomiting. Your doctor also may prescribe medicines for nausea and vomiting.
* Home treatment for diarrhea includes resting your stomach and being alert for signs of dehydration. Check with your doctor before using any nonprescription medicines for your diarrhea. Be sure to drink enough fluids.
* Home treatment for constipation includes ensuring that you drink enough fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet each day. Do not use a laxative without first talking to your doctor.

Other issues that may arise include:

* Sleep problems. If you have trouble sleeping, some tips for managing sleep problems may be helpful, such as having a regular bedtime, getting some exercise during the day, and avoiding caffeine late in the day.
* Fatigue. If you lack energy and become weak easily, try measures to help your fatigue, which include getting extra rest, eating a balanced diet, and reducing your stress.
* Hair loss. Hair loss may be unavoidable. But you can decrease irritation of your scalp by using mild shampoos and avoiding damaging hair products.
* Body image and sexuality problems. Sexuality problems can be caused by physical or psychological factors related to the cancer or its treatment. You may experience less sexual pleasure or lose your desire to be sexually intimate.
o Women who have the bladder removed (radical cystectomy) will also have the ovaries and uterus removed. They cannot become pregnant and may experience menopause soon after having the cystectomy.
o Men who have their prostate glands and seminal vesicles removed may have erection problems and will no longer produce semen.

Many people with bladder cancer face emotional issues as a result of their disease or its treatment.

* It is stressful to find out that you have cancer and to go through treatment. Managing stress may include expressing your feelings to others. Learning relaxation techniques may also be helpful. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, and support groups may be helpful.
* Your feelings about your body may change following treatment for cancer. Managing body image issues may involve talking openly about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information.

Bladder cancer rarely causes pain, and not all forms of cancer treatment cause pain. If pain occurs, many treatments are available to relieve it. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat pain, be sure to follow them. Home treatment for pain, such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or an alternative therapy like biofeedback, may improve your physical and mental well-being. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any home treatment you use for pain.

Some people with advanced-stage disease may choose not to have treatment because the time, costs, and side effects of treatment may be greater than the benefits. Making the decision about stopping medical treatment to prolong life and shifting the focus to end-of-life care can be difficult.

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