Follow up

After treatment for advanced bladder cancer, you have regular check ups to see how you are. This is called follow up.

What happens

At your follow up appointments your doctor examines you, checks how you are and whether you have any problems or worries. Your follow up varies, depending on the treatment you’ve had.

You might have some tests during follow up. These can include:

  • cystoscopy to look inside your bladder (if you still have your bladder)
  • x-rays
  • CT scans
  • urine tests
  • blood tests

You won't have all these tests at every follow up visit. But your doctor will almost certainly examine you. They will ask how you feel and whether you have had any new symptoms or worries.

Between appointments

Tell your doctor or specialist nurse straight away if you are worried, or if you notice any new symptoms between appointments. You don't have to wait for your next appointment.

Do also tell them about any continuing side effects of your treatment. Your check ups are not just to make sure your cancer is under control. They are also to make sure your treatment allows you to live as normal life as you can.

Some side effects may be permanent, such as the bladder being able to hold less urine after radiotherapy. But it may be possible to help you, even if the doctor cannot get rid of the side effect altogether.

Worrying about appointments

You may find your check ups quite worrying, especially at first. If you are feeling well and getting on with life, a hospital appointment can bring all the worry about your cancer back to you.

You may find it helpful to tell someone close to you how you feel. If you can share your worries, they may not seem quite so bad. Having someone go along with you to your check up may help on the day.

If you find that worry is seriously affecting your life, you may need more help. It is quite common for people to have counselling after cancer treatment. This is a way of exploring more deeply what is worrying you and helping you come to terms with it.

Last reviewed: 
28 Jun 2019
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    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), February 2015

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    D Alberts and others
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    J A Witjes and others
    European Association of Urology, 2017

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