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What Is Involved in Bladder Cancer Surgery?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Bladder cancer surgery is frequently needed to remove all or part of the bladder when cancerous cells are found. There are two basic types of bladder cancer surgery, known as a transurethral resection and a cystectomy. In a transurethral resection, special tools are used to either remove a portion of the bladder tissue for testing or to burn away any cancer cells that are found. A cystectomy is a surgical procedure in which the entire bladder is generally removed. Depending on the type of bladder cancer surgery performed as well as the individual situation, additional medical procedures may need to be done as well.

A transurethral resection is a type of bladder cancer surgery that is commonly used to confirm a suspected diagnosis of cancer. Typically, a small sample of tissue is taken from the bladder to be sent to a laboratory for further testing. If cancer cells are found, they can sometimes be burned away with this same procedure. This is the most common method of treatment for early-stage bladder cancer. In some cases, this procedure may need to be followed with additional cancer treatment options, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

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A cystectomy is a type of bladder cancer surgery in which a portion of or the entire urinary bladder is removed. This procedure is generally recommended for later stages of cancer or for cancer that has gone into remission and then returned. In rare cases, only a portion of the bladder may be removed, although it is more common to have the entire bladder removed. When a cystectomy becomes necessary, additional surgical procedures are often needed. Any questions or concerns about the different types of bladder cancer surgery should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

In cases where the bladder has been removed, surgery will involve additional procedures in order to establish an alternate way for urine to pass from the body. This may be in the form of a conduit reservoir or an ileal conduit. A conduit reservoir creates a pouch inside of the body, preventing the need for a bag to be worn outside of the body. A catheter may need to be used in order to release the urine from the body, depending on the type of conduit reservoir used. Creating an ileal conduit involves creating a channel for the urine to pass out of the body into a bag that is worn outside of the body and emptied at regular intervals.

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SteamLouis
Post 3

@ddljohn, @anamur-- It doesn't take that long to start moving after transurethral resection. It takes a lot longer after a cystectomy. It also depends on the kind of movement you're looking to do. In general, it's not good to do lifting and carrying weights because it could cause a bladder hernia.

So people who have to lift for their job might need to be away for longer after bladder surgery than those who don't have to. I know people being back at their desk job a week after a cystectomy. But that does vary from person to person. The doctor will tell you the rules for bladder cancer treatment before you leave the hospital.

serenesurface
Post 2

@ddljohn-- I had the same surgery last year for a G1 (grade 1) bladder cancer. I stayed at the hospital the day after with a catheter to let my bladder rest. Then I was sent home and did not move much for the first week. There was pain, but it was not unbearable since I was taking painkillers. After the first week, I started walking around more but really took it easy until the third week. I didn't go back to work until then.

The most important thing is for your sister to quit smoking if she is. Smoking is one of the main causes of bladder cancer and that was the cause for mine as well. Aside from that, I think antioxidant rich foods and drinks help a lot, like pomegranate and green tea.

ddljohn
Post 1

My sister is going to have transurethral resection next week. Doctors made the bladder cancer diagnosis recently and found several small tumors in the bladder which they will be burning out during surgery. I've been trying to find out what we can expect after surgery. The doctor said that there will be some pain lasting anywhere from one week to a month which could limit her movement. She's going to be staying with me after the surgery so I would like to know what I should do to help her.

Are there specific foods or drinks that help with the healing process? Should she rest most of this time or is it better for her to move around?

I'm sure the doctor will give directions but I really want to hear from others who have gone through bladder cancer surgery. Do you have any recommendations for us?

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