Living with and after early bladder cancer
Most people with non-invasive bladder cancer will be cured or will have their cancer controlled for many years. You may find that the cancer doesn’t affect your life very much after the treatment is over.
Keeping up with friends and getting on with day-to-day things can reassure you that life hasn’t changed too much.
An experience of cancer may help some people decide on new priorities in their lives. This may even mean spending more time with family, going on a special holiday, or taking up a new hobby. Just thinking about these things and making plans can help you realise you still have choices.
There are also other things you can do to help improve your well-being and recovery.
Looking after yourself and making positive choices
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After cancer treatment, you need time to recover. Looking after yourself is an important part of this. Some people may choose to make some lifestyle changes. It’s not to say that you didn’t do this before cancer, but you may want to focus more on making the most of your health.
If you’re a smoker, giving up is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Smoking is a major risk factor for bladder cancer and other smoking-related cancers such as lung cancer. It also increases the risk of heart disease.
Some studies suggest that stopping smoking may decrease the risk of non-invasive bladder cancer coming back in the bladder.
There’s lots of support available to help you stop, and we have information about quitting smoking and tips to help you quit.
Keep to a healthy weight
If you feel you need to lose weight, when you’re feeling up to it ask your GP for advice and what your ideal weight is.
Keeping to a healthy weight reduces the risk of some other cancers, heart problems and illnesses such as diabetes.
Here are some tips to help you lose weight:
only eat as much food as you need
eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
eat less fat and sugar
be more physically active.
We have more helpful tips in our section on weight management after cancer treatment.
Eating healthily will give you more energy and help you recover. Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day). If you eat meat, cut down on red meat and eat more chicken and fish.
Get physically active
Being physically active helps you feel less stressed and will give you more energy. It also keeps your weight healthy and reduces the risk of other health conditions.
Stick to sensible drinking guidelines
These recommend men should drink no more than three units of alcohol a day (or 21 a week) and women no more than two units a day (or 14 a week). It’s also a good idea to have a couple of alcohol-free days each week.
Getting more information about your treatment
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Understanding the cancer and its treatment helps many people to cope. It helps you discuss plans for treatment, tests and check-ups with your doctors and nurses, and means you can play a real part in the decisions that are made. Being involved in these choices builds confidence and can help you get back control of your life.
Just Can’t Wait toilet card
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Some treatments for bladder cancer can make you want to go to the toilet more often. You may also feel that you can’t wait when you do want to go. A Just Can’t Wait toilet card is available that you can show to staff in places like shops or pubs. The card allows you to use their toilets, without them asking awkward questions. You can get the cards from the Bladder & Bowel Foundation.
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Finding a complementary therapy that helps you to relax can also be a very positive way dealing with anxiety and stress.