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Bladder Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Bladder cancer treatment can have long-term effects on your life. At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of University of Miami Health System, we offer the support you need to manage these side effects and maintain a high quality of life. From urological care to psychiatric care, we help you improve your overall health. 

Surgery Side Effects

As part of your bladder cancer treatment, you may have all or part of your bladder removed. Thanks to new techniques, some patients may have a new bladder reconstructed out of intestinal tissue. This new bladder works almost exactly as the old one, allowing for normal urination.

However, many patients will need a urostomy because they no longer have a bladder. A urostomy redirects your urine to come out of your body into a bag. A wound care nurse or health care provider will teach you how to care for your urostomy, such as how to clean it and when to change the pouch.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

For patients who receive chemotherapy for bladder cancer, different chemotherapy drugs can cause different side effects. Fortunately, most of these side effects will go away within one to three months after the end of your treatment. You may experience:

  • Anemia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakened immune system

Some chemotherapy treatments can also damage your kidneys. It is important to stay well hydrated throughout chemotherapy to help your kidneys flush out chemotherapy drugs. Your provider will also closely monitor your kidney health during and after treatment.

Sexual Health

Erectile dysfunction, urostomies, and other treatment side effects can affect your sexual health. We provide comprehensive care and support to help you regain sexual function.

Our expert urologists provide advanced treatment for erectile dysfunction, including oral medication, injections, vacuum erection devices and penile implants. We work closely with you to find a solution that will improve your ability to participate in sex.

Many survivors of bladder cancer also experience psychological issues around sex. A psychiatrist can help you work through these issues with compassionate, private therapy. Working through these issues may relieve erectile dysfunction and help restore your libido.