Coping with your bladder cancer diagnosis

A bladder cancer diagnosis can be shocking and scary. Just when you're trying to come to terms with your diagnosis, you'll be asked to make decisions about your care.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do. Here are some ideas to help you organize your thoughts and create a plan for moving forward.

Learn enough to make decisions about your care

You don't need to become an expert, but find out enough about bladder cancer so that you can feel comfortable discussing your treatment options with your doctor.

To gather information, you might:

  • Ask for the details of your cancer. Ask your doctor or nurse to write down the type, grade and stage of your cancer, as well as your treatment options.
  • Ask about reliable information. Your doctor or nurse might be able to recommend websites and books that are reliable and accurate. Or turn to the websites of trusted organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network for information.
  • Limit the scope of your information. Plan to keep your focus on information and treatments that are most relevant to your situation. It's easy to become overwhelmed by too much information, so be aware of your limits and try to recognize when it's time to take a break from your research.

As you learn more about your cancer and your treatment options, write down your questions so that you can ask them at your next appointment.

Find ways to cope with your feelings

A cancer diagnosis can stir up feelings of anger, sadness and fear. It's normal to have these feelings, but if they start to interfere with your daily activities you may need to take steps to better cope with your feelings.

You might find it helpful to:

  • Exercise
  • Listen to or play music
  • Meditate
  • Participate in yoga
  • Read
  • Work on a hobby or art project
  • Write in a journal
  • Practice gratitude, even in the face of cancer, by thinking about the things for which you're grateful

Each person has his or her own techniques for dealing with stress. If you find your usual ways of coping aren't working, tell your doctor. Together you can work to understand the causes of your distress and consider solutions such as medications and counseling.

Talk to someone

Talking about your feelings can help you sort through your emotions and make it easier to cope.

You can talk to:

  • A close friend or family member who is a good listener
  • Other people you know who have had cancer
  • Members of a support group who have the same cancer as you do
  • Religious or spiritual leaders
  • Professionals, such as counselors, psychiatrists or psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Patient navigators or advocates
  • Your doctor or nurse

If you'd like help finding someone to talk with, ask your doctor or nurse for a referral.

Oct. 03, 2017 See more In-depth