When dealing with a new diagnosis of bladder cancer, your sexuality is probably the last thing on your mind. However, the truth is that the time to have a discussion about your sexuality with your bladder cancer treatment team is when you are making treatment decisions. Depending on your treatment path, there may be options and precautions regarding your sexual health of which you need to be aware.

Questions about your sexual health you may wish to ask your medical team:

For Noninvasive Bladder Cancer:

  • Are there any sexual side effects to the treatment I will be having?
  • Should I take any precautions such as protected sex during bladder cancer treatment?
  • Should I take precautions not to become pregnant during any stage of my treatment?
  • If cancer-related stress has a lasting effect on my libido, should I seek counseling?

For Invasive Bladder Cancer:

  • What are the possible effects of my bladder cancer treatment on my sexuality?
  • What are my options as far as dealing with those side effects?
  • If a Radical Cystectomy is to be done would nerve-sparing surgery be possible?
  • If I qualify as a candidate and you do not offer nerve-sparing surgery, can you refer me to a surgeon who does a high volume of them?
  • How would surgery or chemotherapy affect my fertility and are there any steps I may wish to take beforehand?
  • If needed could you refer me to a specialist in the field of cancer and fertility?

For Women:

  • Chemotherapy or Radical Cystectomy can cause "medically induced menopause." Ask if your treatment plan will cause this to happen and what you can expect as far as side effects.
  • Ask if you should see a gynecologist who deals with menopause.

If you have recently been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you may have many questions. Connect with others just like you on the American Bladder Cancer Society support forum.