1. Regular consultation and follow-up tests
As bladder cancer is easy to recur, the patient should have regular checks at hospital. It is recommended that during the 2 years after treatment, the patient should go for the cystocope examination and then an examination every year. The patient should take care of his/her body conditions and should not hesitate to discuss with or notify the doctor should any change or new signs and symptoms occur.
2. Learn to use the stoma
After the removal of the bladder, the patient has to use the stoma to emit urine. At the beginning, the patient may not adapt to it easily. Actually, most patients with a stoma can have a normal life. Besides carrying on with their work, they can also take part in various activities, including swimming.
The patient should allow himself/herself more time to get used to it. In hospitals, there are usually specially trained nurses called “Stoma nurses”. They are responsible for teaching patients the stoma care and cleaning, and how to tackle problems arising from the use of the stoma. Regarding how to change the urine bags and to clean the stoma, it is advisable for the patient to invite a relative to learn together so that after returning home, the relative can offer help when necessary.
3. Sharing with family members and other patients
The patient may develop depression when he/she has to undergo bladder cancer treatment and the subsequent the side effects. He/she should try to talk more with family members about his/her feelings, which helps ease his/her emotions and pressure of suffering. Furthermore, the patient can participate in some activities organized by patient groups. This will not only enhance his/her understanding of the disease and treatments, but he/she will also come across patients suffering from similar diseases, which enables him/her to share experiences and feelings. Psychologically, he/she gets supports and encouragement.
4. Consulting Specialists
If the patient’s sexual functions and reproduction ability have been affected by treatments, he/she should discuss the situation with the medical staff. If necessary, they will transfer him/her to the specialists concerned or counsellors for professional guidance and support.
5. Caring for health
The patient must quit smoking, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid high fat and preserved foods, do more exercises and keep fit physically and mentally.