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Bladder cancer is one of the less common types of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. It usually affects older adults, and it’s typically diagnosed in its earlier stages. Although cancer treatment is more effective when administered as early as possible, this particular disease does have a higher risk of recurrence than most cancers. If cancer comes back after initial treatment, or if it isn’t diagnosed until it’s started to spread, then the urologist may recommend a cystectomy.

About the Surgery

The doctor may perform a partial cystectomy, which removes only part of the bladder, or a radical cystectomy, which removes the entire bladder. In men, this latter option also involves the removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles. In women, the removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and some of the vaginal may also need to be removed. If you’ll be undergoing a radical cystectomy, your doctor will explain your options for reconstructive surgery. It will be necessary to have an alternative way of storing urine. There are three options:

  • Incontinent diversion: A stoma bag, located outside the body, collects urine for manual emptying.
  • Continent diversion: No bag is located on the outside of the body. Urine is drained by inserting a catheter into the new valve on the front of the abdomen.
  • Neobladder: The newest method of diverting urine, this involves recreating a new bladder from the intestine. Patients may still suffer incontinence, but they can urinate normally.
Steps to Prepare

You’ll be given specific instructions to prepare for the cystectomy, based on your unique health factors. You may be asked to:

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Limit or avoid caffeine
  • Make changes to your prescribed and over-the-counter medications

You’ll be placed under general anesthesia for this surgery. To ensure your safety, you’ll need to avoid liquids and food after a certain point—usually midnight the night before the surgery. You should also make arrangements for your recovery. A cystectomy is a major surgery, and you can expect to be in the hospital for about five to six days.

At Urology Associates, P.C., you’ll find compassionate care and cutting-edge cancer treatments right here in Tennessee. Our urology team emphasizes the importance of patient education, so you’ll know exactly what to expect and how to prepare for your treatment. Contact our office at 888-656-0667.