Self-management

Coping and support

Living with the concern that your bladder cancer may recur can leave you feeling as if you have little control over your future. But while there's no way to ensure that your bladder cancer won't recur, you can take steps to manage the stress.

Over time you'll find what works for you, but until then, you might:

  • Have a schedule of follow-up tests and go to each appointment. When you finish bladder cancer treatment, ask your doctor to create a personalized schedule of follow-up tests. Before each follow-up cystoscopy exam, expect to have some anxiety. You may fear that cancer has come back or worry about the uncomfortable exam. But don't let this stop you from going to your appointment. Instead, plan ways to cope with your concerns. Write your thoughts in a journal, talk with a friend or use relaxation techniques, such as meditation.
  • Take care of yourself so that you're ready to fight cancer if it comes back. Take care of yourself by adjusting your diet to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Get enough sleep so that you wake feeling rested.
  • Talk with other bladder cancer survivors. Connect with bladder cancer survivors who are experiencing the same fears you're feeling. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to ask about support groups in your area.

Prevention

Although there's no guaranteed way to prevent bladder cancer, you can take steps to help reduce your risk. For instance:

  • Don't smoke. Not smoking means that cancer-causing chemicals in smoke can't collect in your bladder. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about a plan to help you stop. Support groups, medications and other methods may help you quit.
  • Take caution around chemicals. If you work with chemicals, follow all safety instructions to avoid exposure.
  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of cancer.