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A cystectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the bladder. The surgery is mainly used to treat bladder cancer.
After surgery, your belly will be sore. You will probably need pain medicine for 1 to 2 weeks. You can expect your urostomy (stoma) to be swollen and tender at first. This usually improves after 2 to 3 weeks. You may notice some blood in your urine or that your urine is light pink for the first 3 weeks after surgery. This is normal.
While you are recovering from surgery, you will also be learning to care for your stoma. You may find it helpful to meet several times with a nurse who can teach you how to care for your stoma and use a urostomy pouch or bag.
Many people can return to work or their usual activities 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. But you will probably need 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover from the surgery.
Bladder cancer surgery may affect sexual function. If a woman's uterus and ovaries are removed during the surgery, she will not be able to get pregnant, and menopause may start. She may have hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. And if a man's prostate gland and seminal vesicles are removed, he may have problems getting an erection and will not be able to make a woman pregnant.
You may feel sad or depressed, or you may worry about how your body will look after surgery. You may worry about whether the surgery will affect your ability to have sex. These concerns are common. Ask your doctor about support groups or other resources that can help you with this. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Adaptation Date: 3/2/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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