About Your Bladder Surgery With a Continent Cutaneous Diversion

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Time to Read: About 41 minutes

This guide will help you get ready for your bladder surgery with a continent cutaneous diversion at MSK. It will also help you understand what to expect during your recovery.

Read through this guide at least once before your surgery and use it as a reference in the days leading up to your surgery.

Bring this guide with you every time you come to MSK, including the day of your surgery. You and your healthcare team will refer to it throughout your care.

About Your Bladder Surgery

Your urinary system is made up of organs that make urine and get it out of your body (see Figure 1).

  • Your kidneys clean the toxins out of your blood and make urine.
  • Your ureters are tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder.
  • Your bladder stores urine until you feel the need to urinate.
  • Your urethra is a tube that carries the urine in your bladder out of your body when you urinate.
    • In women, the urethra is very short. It’s located above the vagina.
    • In men, the tube is longer. It passes through the prostate gland and penis.
Figure 1. Your urinary system

Figure 1. Your urinary system

Removing your bladder

Surgery to remove your entire bladder is called a radical cystectomy.

During your surgery, your doctor will remove your bladder and some of the lymph nodes near your bladder. Then, they’ll rebuild your urinary system.

About lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands that are located throughout your body. They’re part of your lymphatic system, which is part of your body’s immune system. Lymph nodes are removed during your surgery because they may also contain cancer cells.

If you’ve had surgery or radiation therapy to your pelvis in the past, your doctor may remove fewer lymph nodes. This is done to avoid problems after your surgery.

Removing other organs near your bladder

In addition to your bladder and lymph nodes, your doctor may need to remove other organs near your bladder. This is done to make sure all of the cancer is removed.

In men, the following organs may be removed:

  • Prostate
  • Seminal vesicles
  • Part of the vasa deferentia
  • Urethra

In women, the following organs may be removed:

  • Uterus
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries
  • Part of the vagina

Creating your continent cutaneous diversion

After your bladder is removed, your doctor will create a new pouch to hold your urine. This is called a urinary diversion. The type you’ll have is called a continent cutaneous diversion.

Your doctor will use a small piece of your colon (large intestine) to create your continent cutaneous diversion. One end of the pouch will be attached to your ureters. The other end will be attached to a small opening in your abdomen called a stoma. Your doctor will create the stoma during your surgery. They’ll also create a valve to keep urine from flowing out of the stoma. You won’t need to wear anything outside of your body to catch the urine.

After your surgery, your urine will flow from your kidneys, through your ureters, and into your pouch. To empty your pouch, you’ll put a catheter (thin, flexible tube) through your stoma several times a day. You’ll learn how to do this after your surgery.

This surgery usually takes about 4 to 7 hours. It may take longer if you have other medical conditions or have had past surgeries.

Getting Ready for Your Surgery

This section will help you get ready for your surgery. Read it when your surgery is scheduled. Refer to it as your surgery gets closer. It has important information about what to do to get ready.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

Getting ready for surgery

You and your care team will work together to get ready for your surgery. Help us keep you safe by telling us if any of these things apply to you, even if you’re not sure.

  • I take a anticoagulant (blood thinner), such as:
    These are examples of medicines. There are others.

    Be sure your healthcare provider knows all the medicines you’re taking.
    • Aspirin
    • Heparin
    • Warfarin (Jantoven®, Coumadin®)
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix®)
    • Enoxaparin (Lovenox®)
    • Dabigatran (Pradaxa®)
    • Apixaban (Eliquis®)
    • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®)
  • I take an SGLT2 inhibitor, such as:
    • Canagliflozin (Invokana®)
    • Dapagliflozin (Farxiga®)
    • Empagliflozin (Jardiance®)
    • Ertugliflozin (Steglatro®)
  • I take prescription medicine(s), including patches and creams. A prescription medicine is one you can only get with a prescription from your healthcare provider.
  • I take over-the-counter medicine(s), including patches and creams. An over-the-counter medicine is one you can buy without a prescription from your healthcare provider.
  • I take dietary supplements, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, or natural or home remedies.
  • I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), or other heart device.
  • I have sleep apnea.
  • I have had a problem with anesthesia (A-nes-THEE-zhuh) in the past. Anesthesia is medicine to you sleep during a surgery or procedure.
  • I’m allergic to certain medicines or materials, including latex.
  • I’m not willing to receive a blood transfusion.
  • I drink alcohol.
  • I smoke or use an electronic smoking device, such as a vape pen or e-cigarette.
  • I use recreational drugs, such as marijuana.

About drinking alcohol

It’s important to talk with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink. This will help us plan your care.

If you drink alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for problems during and after your surgery. These include bleeding, infections, heart problems, and a longer hospital stay.

If you drink alcohol regularly and stop suddenly, it can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know you’re at risk for these problems, we can prescribe medicine to help prevent them.

Here are things you can do before your surgery to keep from having problems.

  • Be honest with your healthcare providers about how much alcohol you drink.
  • Try to stop drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:
    • Get a headache.
    • Feel nauseous (like you’re going to throw up).
    • Feel more anxious (nervous or worried) than usual.
    • Cannot sleep.

These are early signs of alcohol withdrawal and can be treated.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you cannot stop drinking.
  • Ask your healthcare provider questions about drinking and surgery. All your medical information will be kept private, as always.

About smoking

If you smoke, you can have breathing problems when you have surgery. Stopping for even a few days before your surgery can help.

Your healthcare provider will refer you to our Tobacco Treatment Program if you smoke. You can also reach the program by calling 212-610-0507.

About sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common breathing problem. If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing for short lengths of time while you’re asleep. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, your airway becomes fully blocked during sleep.

OSA can cause serious problems during and after surgery. Tell us if you have or think you might have sleep apnea. If you use a breathing device, such as a CPAP machine, bring it on the day of your surgery.

About Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

ERAS is a program to help you get better faster after your surgery. It’s important to do certain things before and after your surgery as part of the ERAS program.

Before your surgery, make sure you’re ready by:

  • Reading this guide. It will help you know what to expect before, during, and after your surgery. If you have questions, write them down. You can ask your healthcare provider at your next appointment or call their office.
  • Exercising and following a healthy diet. This will help get your body ready for your surgery.

After your surgery, help yourself recover more quickly by:

  • Reading your recovery pathway. This is an educational resource your healthcare provider will give you. It has goals for your recovery. It will help you know what to do and expect each day.
  • Starting to move around as soon as you can. The sooner you get out of bed and walk, the quicker you can get back to your normal activities.

Within 30 days of your surgery

Presurgical testing (PST)

You’ll have a PST appointment before your surgery. You’ll get a reminder from your surgeon’s office with the appointment date, time, and location.

You can eat and take your usual medicine(s) the day of your PST appointment.

It’s helpful to bring these things to your appointment:

  • A list of all the medicines you’re taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, patches, and creams.
  • Results of any medical tests done outside of MSK in the past year, if you have them. Examples include results from a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
  • The names and telephone numbers of your healthcare providers.

You’ll meet with an advance practice provider (APP) during your PST appointment. They work closely with MSK’s anesthesiology (A-nes-THEE-zee-AH-loh-jee) staff. These are healthcare providers with special training in using anesthesia during a surgery or procedure.

Your APP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests to plan your care, such as:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm.
  • A chest X-ray.
  • Blood tests.

Your APP may recommend you see other healthcare providers. They’ll also talk with you about which medicine(s) to take the morning of your surgery.

Identify your caregiver

Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. Before your surgery, you and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare providers. After your surgery, your caregiver will take you home when you’re discharged. They’ll also help you care for yourself at home.

For caregivers

‌  Caring for a person going through cancer treatment comes with many responsibilities. We offer resources and support to help you manage them. Visit www.msk.org/caregivers or read A Guide for Caregivers to learn more.

Fill out a Health Care Proxy form

If you have not already filled out a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you do now. If you already filled one out or have any other advance directives, bring them to your next appointment.

A health care proxy is a legal document. It says who will speak for you if you cannot communicate for yourself. This person is called your health care agent.

Talk with a member of your care team if you have questions about filling out a Health Care Proxy form.

Do breathing and coughing exercises

Practice taking deep breaths and coughing before your surgery. Your healthcare provider will give you an incentive spirometer to help expand your lungs. To learn more, read How To Use Your Incentive Spirometer .

Consider our sexual health programs

Bladder surgery will affect your sexual health. If you have any concerns about how it will affect you, think about making an appointment with one of our sexual health clinics.

Information for men

Bladder surgery can cause changes in erectile function (your ability to get and keep an erection). Most men have erectile dysfunction (ED) after surgery. ED is when you have trouble getting or keeping an erection.

Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what to expect about having erections again after surgery. There are many types of treatments for ED, including pills, injections (shots), or a prosthesis (implant). Your healthcare provider can talk with you about these options.

Because your prostate will be removed during your surgery, you won’t be able to father children after your surgery. If you want to have children in the future, you may want to bank your sperm before surgery. Ask your healthcare provider for information about sperm banking if you want to bank your sperm.

To see a specialist in the Male Sexual & Reproductive Medicine Program, call 646-888-6024.

Information for women

If your reproductive organs are removed, you won’t be able to bear children after your surgery. If you want to have children in the future, you may want to think about family planning options (such as egg freezing) before your surgery. Your healthcare provider can discuss these options with you.

You may also have changes in sexual function after your surgery. These may include a shorter vagina and menopause. Menopause is when you no longer have a menstrual period. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what to expect. They can also discuss your treatment options with you in more detail.

To see a specialist in the Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program, call 646-888-5076.

Do physical activity

Doing physical activity will help your body get into its best condition for your surgery. It will also make your recovery faster and easier.

Try to do physical activity every day. Any activity that makes your heart beat faster, such as walking, swimming, or biking, is a good choice. If it’s cold outside, use stairs in your home or go to a mall or shopping center.

For more information about exercising, read the resource General Exercise Program: Level 2 .

Follow a healthy diet

Follow a well-balanced, healthy diet before your surgery. If you need help with your diet, talk with your healthcare provider about meeting with a clinical dietitian nutritionist.

Buy a 4% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) solution antiseptic skin cleanser, such as Hibiclens®

4% CHG solution is a skin cleanser that kills germs for 24 hours after you use it. Showering with it before your surgery will help lower your risk of infection after surgery. You can buy a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

Buy magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is an over-the-counter laxative. Taking magnesium citrate before your surgery will help make sure your colon is empty during your surgery.

Buy 3 (10-ounce) bottles of magnesium citrate. You can buy it at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

Buy clear liquids

You’ll need to follow a clear liquid diet before your surgery. It’s helpful to buy clear liquids ahead of time. Read the section “Follow a clear liquid diet” for a list of clear liquids you can drink.

7 days before your surgery

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for taking aspirin

Aspirin can cause bleeding. If you take aspirin or a medicine that has aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Do not stop taking aspirin unless they tell you to.

To learn more, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), or Vitamin E . You can find it in the “Educational resources” section of this guide.

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements

Vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements can cause bleeding. Stop taking them 7 days before your surgery. If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.

To learn more, read Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment .

2 days before your surgery

Stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil® and Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®), can cause bleeding. Stop taking them 2 days before your surgery. If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.

To learn more, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), or Vitamin E .

Drink magnesium citrate

At 2 days before your surgery, drink 1 (10-ounce) bottle of magnesium citrate.

  • You’ll probably start having bowel movements within 30 minutes. However, it can take as long as 3 hours before bowel movements start. Make sure to stay close to a toilet during your bowel preparation.
  • Apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or vitamin A&D ointment (A+D® Ointment) to the skin around your anus after every bowel movement. This helps prevent irritation.
  • Drink clear liquids all day until bedtime. You should drink clear liquids at your usual meal times and between meals.

Start following a clear liquid diet

You’ll need to start following a clear liquid diet 2 days before your surgery. A clear liquid diet includes only liquids you can see through. Examples are listed in the “Clear Liquid Diet” table.

While you’re following this diet:

  • Don’t eat any solid foods.
  • Try to drink at least 1 (8-ounce) glass of clear liquid every hour while you’re awake.
  • Drink different types of clear liquids. Don’t just drink water, coffee, and tea. You can drink liquids of any color.
  • Don’t drink sugar-free liquids unless you have diabetes and a member of your healthcare team tells you to.
For people with diabetes

If you have diabetes, ask the healthcare provider who manages your diabetes what you should do while you’re following a clear liquid diet.

  • If you take insulin or another medication for diabetes, ask if you need to change the dose.
  • Ask if you should drink sugar-free clear liquids.

While you’re following a clear liquid diet, make sure to check your blood sugar level often. If you have any questions, talk with your healthcare provider.

Clear liquid diet
  OK to drink Do not drink
Soups
  • Clear broth, bouillon, and consommé.
  • Anything with pieces of food or seasoning.
Sweets
  • Gelatin, such as Jell-O®.
  • Flavored ices.
  • Hard candies, such as Life Savers®, lemon drops, and peppermints.
  • All others.
Drinks
  • Clear fruit juices, such as lemonade, apple, cranberry, and grape juices.
  • Soda, such as ginger ale, 7UP®, Sprite®, and seltzer.
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade® and Powerade®.
  • Black coffee.
  • Tea.
  • Water, including carbonated (fizzy) and flavored water.
  • Clear nutritional drinks, such as Boost® Breeze, Ensure Clear™, Pedialyte®, and Diabetishield®.
  • Juices with pulp.
  • Nectars.
  • Smoothies or shakes.
  • Milk, cream, and other dairy products.
  • Nut milks, plant milks, non-dairy creamers, and other dairy alternatives.
  • Drinks with alcohol.

1 day before your surgery

Follow a clear liquid diet

Keep following a clear liquid diet the day before your surgery. If you have diabetes, remember to check your blood sugar level often. Follow any other instructions that the healthcare provider who manages your diabetes gave you.

Drink magnesium citrate

At on the day before your surgery, drink 1 (10-ounce) bottle of magnesium citrate.

  • Make sure to stay close to a toilet during your bowel preparation.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or vitamin A&D ointment to the skin around your anus after every bowel movement.
  • Keep drinking clear liquids all day until bedtime. Drink clear liquids at your usual meal times and between meals.

At , if your bowel movements aren’t clear, drink another (10-ounce) bottle of magnesium citrate.

Note the time of your surgery

A staff member will call you after the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, they’ll call you the Friday before. If you do not get a call by , call 212-639-5014.

The staff member will tell you what time to get to the hospital for your surgery. They’ll also remind you where to go.

This will be the following location:

Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 6th floor
1275 York Ave. (between East 67th and East 68th streets)
New York, NY 10065
Take the B elevator to the 6th floor.

Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser, such as Hibiclens

Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser before you go to bed the night before your surgery.

  1. Wash your hair with your usual shampoo and conditioner. Rinse your head well.
  2. Wash your face and genital (groin) area with your usual soap. Rinse your body well with warm water.
  3. Open the 4% CHG solution bottle. Pour some into your hand or a clean washcloth.
  4. Move away from the shower stream. Rub the 4% CHG solution gently over your body from your neck to your feet. Do not put it on your face or genital area.
  5. Move back into the shower stream to rinse off the 4% CHG solution. Use warm water.
  6. Dry yourself off with a clean towel.

Do not use any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne after your shower.

Sleep

Go to bed early and get a full night’s sleep.

Instructions for eating before your surgery

‌  
Do not eat anything after midnight (12 a.m.) the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.



 

The morning of your surgery

Instructions for drinking before your surgery

  • If your healthcare provider gave you a ClearFast drink, finish it 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else after midnight (12 a.m.) the night before your surgery, including water.
  • If your healthcare provider did not give you a ClearFast drink, you can drink a total of 12 ounces of water between midnight (12 a.m.) and 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else.

 
Do not drink anything starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This includes water.

Take your medications as instructed

A member of your care team will tell you which medications to take the morning of your surgery. Take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.

Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser, such as Hibiclens

Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser before you leave for the hospital. Use it the same way you did the night before.

Do not put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne after your shower.

Things to remember

  • Wear something comfortable and loose-fitting.
  • If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Wearing contact lenses during surgery can damage your eyes.
  • Don’t wear any metal objects. Remove all jewelry, including body piercings. The equipment used during your surgery can cause burns if it touches metal.
  • Don’t put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne.
  • Remove nail polish and nail wraps.
  • Leave valuable items (such as credit cards, jewelry, and your checkbook) at home.
  • If you’re menstruating (have your monthly period), use a sanitary pad, not a tampon. You’ll get disposable underwear, as well as a pad if needed.

What to bring

  • A pair of loose-fitting pants (such as sweat pants).
  • Sneakers that lace up. You may have some swelling in your feet. Lace-up sneakers can fit over this swelling.
  • Your breathing device for sleep apnea (such as your CPAP device), if you have one.
  • Your incentive spirometer, if you have one.
  • Your Health Care Proxy form and other advance directives, if you completed them.
  • Your cell phone and charger.
  • A case for your personal items (such as eyeglasses, hearing aid(s), dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles), if you have one.
  • This guide. Your healthcare team will use it to teach you how to care for yourself after surgery.

Where to park

Memorial Hospital parking map

MSK’s parking garage is on East 66th Street between York and 1st avenues. If you have questions about prices, call 212-639-2338.

To get to the garage, turn onto East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue. It’s on the right (north) side of the street. There’s a tunnel you can walk through that connects the garage to the hospital.

There are other parking garages on:

  • East 69th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.
  • East 67th Street between York and 1st avenues.
  • East 65th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.

Once you’re in the hospital

You’ll be asked to say and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or a similar name may be having surgery on the same day.

Get dressed for surgery

When it’s time to change for surgery, you’ll get a hospital gown, robe, and nonskid socks to wear.

Meet with a nurse

You’ll meet with a nurse before surgery. Tell them the dose of any medicines you took after midnight (12 a.m.) and the time you took them. Make sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, patches, and creams.

Your nurse may place an intravenous (IV) line in one of your veins, usually in your arm or hand. If your nurse does not place the IV, your anesthesiologist (A-nes-THEE-zee-AH-loh-jist) will do it in the operating room.

Marking your surgical site

In addition to being asked your name and birth date, you may also be asked the name of your doctor, what surgery you’re having, and which side is being operated on. Your doctor or another member of your surgical team will use a marker to initial the site on your body that will be operated on. This is for your safety. We do this to make sure all members of the surgical staff are clear about the plan for your surgery.

Meet with an anesthesiologist

You’ll also meet with an anesthesiologist before surgery. They will:

  • Review your medical history with you.
  • Ask you if you’ve had any problems with anesthesia in the past, such as nausea or pain.
  • Talk with you about your comfort and safety during your surgery.
  • Talk with you about the kind of anesthesia you’ll get.
  • Answer your questions about your anesthesia.

Your doctor or anesthesiologist may also talk with you about placing an epidural catheter (thin, flexible tube) in your spine (back). An epidural catheter is another way to give pain medication.

Get ready for surgery

When it’s time for your surgery, you’ll take off your eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic devices, wig, and religious articles.

You’ll either walk into the operating room or a staff member will bring you there on a stretcher. A member of the operating room team will help you onto the operating bed. They’ll put compression boots on your lower legs. These gently inflate and deflate to help blood flow in your legs.

Once you’re comfortable, your anesthesiologist will give you anesthesia through your IV line and you’ll fall asleep. You’ll also get fluids through your IV line during and after your surgery.

During your surgery

After you’re fully asleep, a breathing tube will be placed through your mouth and into your windpipe to help you breathe.

Once your surgery is finished, your incision will be closed with staples, sutures (stitches), or Dermabond® (surgical glue). You’ll also have a bandage over your incision. Your breathing tube is usually taken out while you’re still in the operating room.

Recovering after your surgery

This section will help you know what to expect after your surgery. You’ll learn how to safely recover from your surgery both in the hospital and at home.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

In the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

You’ll be in the PACU when you wake up after your surgery. A nurse will be keeping track of your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. You may get oxygen through a tube resting below your nose or a mask over your nose and mouth. You’ll also have compression boots on your lower legs.

Tubes and Drains

You’ll have several different types of drainage tubes in your body. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what to expect. You’ll have 1 or more of the tubes and drains below.

  • Jackson-Pratt® (JP) drain: This is a small egg-shaped container that’s connected to a tube in the lower part of your abdomen. It drains liquid from your pelvis.
  • Stents: These are 2 small tubes. They may be in a small opening in your abdomen, or they may be attached to a drainage tube inside your body. They drain urine from your kidneys.
  • Drainage tube in your abdomen: This is a tube in the lower part of your abdomen. It drains urine from your pouch. It may be called a suprapubic (SP) tube or a cecostomy tube.
  • Drainage tube in your pouch: This is a tube in your stoma. It drains urine from your pouch.

Pain medication

You’ll get epidural or IV pain medication while you’re in the PACU.

  • If you’re getting epidural pain medication, it will be put into your epidural space (the space in your spine just outside your spinal cord) through your epidural catheter. You’ll be able to control your pain medication using a button called a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. For more information, read the resource Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) .
  • If you’re getting IV pain medication, it will be put into your bloodstream through your IV line.

If you don’t have an epidural catheter, you’ll get pain medication through your IV line.

Moving to your hospital room

You’ll probably stay in the PACU overnight. After your stay in the PACU, a staff member will take you to your hospital room.

In your hospital room

The length of time you’re in the hospital after your surgery depends on your recovery. Some people leave after 3 to 4 days, while other people stay longer. Your nurse will teach you how to recover after your surgery.

Read the resource Call! Don't Fall! to learn about what you can do to stay safe and keep from falling while you’re in the hospital.

Moving around and walking

Moving around and walking will help lower your risk for blood clots and pneumonia (lung infection). It will also help you start passing gas and having bowel movements (pooping) again. Your nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist will help you move around, if needed. They’ll also give you medication to relieve pain.

Try to follow the moving and walking goals below. These goals are also in your recovery pathway.

Moving and Walking Goals
Day Goals
The day of surgery
  • Dangle your legs over the edge of your bed.
1 day after surgery
  • Sit in your chair for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth.
  • Walk 3 or more laps around the nursing unit.
2 days after surgery
  • Sit in your chair for 3 or more hours.
  • Sit in your chair during your meals.
  • Walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth.
  • Walk 7 or more laps around the nursing unit.
3 days after surgery
  • Sit in your chair for 4 or more hours.
  • Sit in your chair during your meals.
  • Walk to the bathroom and do all self-care activities (such as brushing your teeth and washing your face).
  • Walk 10 or more laps around the nursing unit.
4 days after surgery
  • Sit in your chair for 5 or more hours.
  • Sit in your chair during your meals.
  • Walk 14 or more laps around the nursing unit (1 mile).

Managing your pain

You’ll have some pain after your surgery.

  • If you have an epidural catheter, you’ll get pain medication into your epidural space. You’ll be able to control your medication using a PCA device.
  • If you don’t have an epidural catheter, you’ll get pain medication in your IV line.
  • Once you’re able to eat normal food, you’ll get oral pain medication (medication you swallow).

Your healthcare providers will ask you about your pain often and give you medication as needed. If your pain isn’t relieved, tell one of your healthcare providers. It’s important to control your pain so you can use your incentive spirometer and move around. Controlling your pain will help you recover better.

If you had a robotic surgery, you may have pain in your shoulder. This is called referred pain. It’s caused by the gas that was put into your abdomen during your surgery, and it’s normal. If you have pain in your shoulder, tell one of your healthcare providers. They’ll bring you a hot pack to put on your shoulder to help with the pain.

You’ll get a prescription for pain medication before you leave the hospital. Talk with your healthcare provider about possible side effects and when to start switching to over-the-counter pain medications.

Exercising your lungs

It’s important to exercise your lungs so they expand fully. This helps prevent pneumonia.

  • Use your incentive spirometer 10 times every hour you’re awake. Read How To Use Your Incentive Spirometer to learn more.
  • Do coughing and deep breathing exercises. A member of your care team will teach you how.

When using your incentive spirometer or doing other breathing exercises, it may help to hold a pillow or blanket against your incision. This will keep your muscles from moving as much.

Eating

You may be able to start drinking liquids the day after your procedure. Depending on how your bowels are working, you’ll slowly start eating solid foods again over the next few days.

While you’re recovering, your appetite may be smaller than it was before your surgery. Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals. Eating this way will help your digestion and give you energy throughout the day.

Swelling and discharge

Right after surgery, you may have some swelling in your genitals and groin. You may also have some discharge from your penis or vagina. This is normal. The swelling and discharge should go away over a few weeks.

Showering

You’ll be able to shower with help 3 days after your surgery.

Learning to care for your continent cutaneous diversion

While you’re in the hospital, your nurse will teach you how to care for your continent cutaneous diversion. They’ll also teach you how to care for any tubes or drains you’ll have at home.

You’ll also have a case manager after your surgery. They’ll work with you to arrange for a home care nurse to visit you after you’re discharged from the hospital.

Getting your supplies

Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will give you enough supplies to care for yourself at home for about 3 weeks. They’ll also give you a list of companies you can contact to order more supplies. The nurse who works with your doctor will also help you order more supplies after you’re discharged.

At home

Read What You Can Do to Avoid Falling to learn what you can do to keep from falling at home and during your appointments at MSK.

A home care nurse will visit you when you’re home from the hospital. They’ll keep track of how you’re recovering. They’ll also help you practice caring for your continent cutaneous diversion.

The nurse that works with your doctor will call you 1 to 4 days after you’re discharged to see how you’re doing. They’ll also tell you when to schedule your first appointment after surgery.

Filling out your Recovery Tracker

We want to know how you’re feeling after you leave the hospital. To help us care for you, we’ll send questions to your MyMSK account. We’ll send them every day for 10 days after you’re discharged. These questions are known as your Recovery Tracker.

Fill out your Recovery Tracker every day before midnight (12 a.m.). It only takes 2 to 3 minutes to complete. Your answers to these questions will help us understand how you’re feeling and what you need.

Based on your answers, we may reach out to you for more information. Sometimes, we may ask you to call your surgeon’s office. You can always contact your surgeon’s office if you have any questions.

To learn more, read About Your Recovery Tracker .

MedicAlert® jewelry

You should always wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace that states that you had a cystectomy with a continent cutaneous diversion. This will help emergency services workers care for you if you’re ever seriously ill or hurt and need medical help.

You can buy a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace at most drug stores, or you can ask your nurse for an application. For more information, visit the MedicAlert website at www.medicalert.org.

Caring for your drainage tube(s)

You’ll leave the hospital with 1 or more drainage tubes. The tube(s) will drain urine from your pouch and help the area heal.

Your continent cutaneous diversion is made out of a piece of your intestine, and your intestine makes mucus. You’ll need to irrigate the tube(s) in your pouch before and after you leave the hospital to make sure they don’t get clogged with mucus. Your nurse will teach you how to do this, and a home care nurse will help you after you’re discharged. You’ll need to irrigate your tube(s) until they’re removed.

After the tube(s) are removed, you’ll see mucus in your urine. This is normal. With time, your continent cutaneous diversion will make less mucus.

Emptying your pouch

After the drainage tubes are removed from your pouch, you’ll need to empty it on a schedule. This will help you keep from overfilling your pouch. Below is an example of a schedule for emptying your pouch for the first 2 weeks after the drainage tubs are removed. Your healthcare provider may tell you to follow a different schedule. Follow their instructions.

Schedule for Emptying Your Pouch
  Daytime Nighttime
Week 1 Every 2 hours Every 3 hours
Week 2 Every 3 hours Every 4 hours

At nighttime, set an alarm clock to wake you up once in the middle of the night to empty your pouch.

Around 2 weeks after the drainage tubes, you’ll have a follow-up appointment. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about your schedule for emptying your pouch during this appointment.

Managing your pain

The length of time each person has pain or discomfort varies. You may still have some pain when you go home and will probably be taking pain medication. Some people have soreness, tightness, or muscle aches around their incision for 6 months or longer. This doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

Follow these guidelines to help manage your pain at home.

  • Take your medicine(s) as directed and as needed.
  • Call your healthcare provider if the medicine prescribed for you does not help your pain.
  • Do not drive or drink alcohol while you’re taking prescription pain medicine. Some prescription pain medicines can make you drowsy (very sleepy). Alcohol can make the drowsiness worse.
  • You’ll have less pain and need less pain medicine as your incision heals. An over-the-counter pain reliever will help with aches and discomfort. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) are examples of over-the-counter pain relievers.
    • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for stopping your prescription pain medicine.
    • Do not take too much of any medicine. Follow the instructions on the label or from your healthcare provider.
    • Read the labels on all the medicines you’re taking. This is very important if you’re taking acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an ingredient in many over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Taking too much can harm your liver. Do not take more than one medicine that has acetaminophen without talking with a member of your care team.
  • Pain medicine should help you get back to your normal activities. Take enough to do your activities and exercises comfortably. You may have a little more pain as you start to be more active.

Keep track of when you take your pain medicine. It works best 30 to 45 minutes after you take it. Taking it when you first have pain is better than waiting for the pain to get worse.

Some prescription pain medications (such as opioids) may cause constipation (having fewer bowel movements than usual).

Preventing and managing constipation

Talk with your healthcare provider about how to prevent and manage constipation. You can also follow the guidelines below.

  • Go to the bathroom at the same time every day. Your body will get used to going at that time. But, if you feel like you need to go, don’t put it off.
  • Try to use the bathroom 5 to 15 minutes after meals. After breakfast is a good time to go. The reflexes in your colon are strongest at this time.
  • Exercise, if you can. Walking is an excellent form of exercise.
  • Drink 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses (2 liters) of liquids daily, if you can. Drink water, juices (such as prune juice), soups, ice cream shakes, and other drinks that don’t have caffeine. Drinks with caffeine (such as coffee and soda) pull fluid out of your body.
  • Slowly increase the fiber in your diet to 25 to 35 grams per day. If you have an ostomy or have had recent bowel surgery, check with your healthcare provider before making any changes in your diet. Foods high in fiber include:
    • Bran
    • Whole-grain cereals and breads
    • Unpeeled fruits and vegetables
    • Mixed green salads
    • Apricots, figs, and raisins
  • Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat constipation. Check with your healthcare provider before taking any medications for constipation, especially if you have an ostomy or have had bowel surgery. Follow the instructions on the label or from your healthcare provider. Examples of over-the-counter medications for constipation include:
    • Docusate sodium (Colace®). This is a stool softener (medication that makes your bowe; movements softer) that causes few side effects. You can use it to help prevent constipation. Don’t take it with mineral oil.
    • Polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX®). This is a laxative (medication that causes bowel movements) that causes few side effects. Take it with 8 ounces (1 cup) of a liquid. Only take it if you’re already constipated.
    • Senna (Senokot®). This is a stimulant laxative, which can cause cramping. It’s best to take it at bedtime. Only take it if you’re already constipated.
    If any of these medications cause diarrhea (loose, watery bowel movements), stop taking them. You can start again if needed.

For more information, read the resource Constipation .

Call your healthcare provider if you aren’t passing gas or if you haven’t had a bowel movement in 3 days.

Diarrhea and other changes in bowel function

When part of your colon is removed, the part that’s left adapts to the change. Your colon will start to adapt soon after your surgery. During this time, you may have gas, cramps, or changes in your bowel habits (such as diarrhea or frequent bowel movements). These changes may take weeks to months to go away.

If you’re having problems with changes in your bowel function, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also try the tips below.

Tips for managing gas

If you have gas or feel bloated, avoid foods that can cause gas. Examples include beans, broccoli, onions, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Tips for managing diarrhea

If you have diarrhea, it’s important to drink at least 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of liquids every day. Drink water and drinks with salt, such as broth and Gatorade®. This will help you keep from becoming dehydrated and feeling weak.

Following the BRATY diet can also help control diarrhea. The BRATY diet is made up mostly of:

  • Bananas (B)
  • Rice (R)
  • Applesauce (A)
  • Toast (T)
  • Yogurt (Y)

If you’re having diarrhea more than 4 to 5 times a day, or if it smells worse than normal, call your healthcare provider.

Tips for managing soreness

If you have soreness around your anus:

  • Soak in warm water 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Apply zinc oxide ointment (such as Desitin®) to the skin around your anus. This helps prevent irritation.
  • Don’t use harsh toilet tissue. You can use a nonalcohol wipe (such as a baby wipe) instead.
  • Take medication, if your healthcare provider prescribes it.

Caring for your incision

Take a shower every day to clean your incision. Follow the instructions in the “Showering” section below.

It’s normal for the skin below your incision to feel numb, because some of the nerves were cut. The numbness will go away over time.

Call your healthcare provider if:

  • The skin around your incision is very red.
  • The skin around your incision is getting more red.
  • You see drainage that looks like pus (thick and milky).

If you go home with staples in your incision, they’ll be removed during your first appointment after surgery. It’s okay to get the staples wet.

Showering

‌  
Take a shower every day to clean your incision. If you have staples in your incision, it’s okay to get them wet.

Use soap, but don’t put it directly on your incision. Don’t rub the area around your incision. After you shower, pat the area dry with a clean towel. Leave your incision uncovered or cover it with a small bandage if your clothing may rub it (such as the waistline of your pants).

Don’t take a bath for the first 4 weeks after your surgery.

Eating and drinking

You can eat all the foods you did before your surgery, unless your healthcare provider gives you other instructions. Eating a balanced diet with lots of calories and protein will help you heal after surgery. Try to eat a good protein source (such as meat, fish, or eggs) at each meal. You should also try to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

For more tips on eating more calories and protein, read the resource Eating Well During Your Cancer Treatment .

It’s important to drink plenty of liquids. Choose liquids without alcohol or caffeine. Try to drink 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of liquids every day. You should drink enough so that the urine in your pouch is very light yellow or clear. If it becomes dark yellow or orange, you need to drink more.

If you have questions about your diet, ask to see a clinical dietitian nutritionist.

Activities and exercise

When you leave the hospital, your incision will look like it’s healed on the outside, but it won’t be healed on the inside.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (about 4.5 kilograms) for at least 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery.
  • Don’t do any demanding activities (such as jogging, tennis, or contact sports) for at least 3 months after your surgery.

Doing aerobic exercise, such as walking and stair climbing, will help you gain strength and feel better. Walk at least 2 to 3 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes. You can walk outside or indoors at your local mall or shopping center. For more information, read the resource General Exercise Program: Level 2 .

It’s normal to have less energy than usual after your surgery. Recovery time is different for each person. Increase your activities each day as much as you can. Always balance activity periods with rest periods. Rest is an important part of your recovery.

Driving

Ask your healthcare provider when you can drive. Most people can start driving again within 6 weeks after surgery. Don’t drive while you’re taking pain medication that may make you drowsy. You can ride in a car as a passenger at any time after you leave the hospital.

Going back to work

Having a continent cutaneous diversion shouldn’t stop you from going back to work. Talk with your healthcare provider about your job and when it may be safe for you to start working again. If your job involves movement or heavy lifting, you may need to stay out a little longer than if you sit at a desk.

Traveling

You’ll be able to travel. Here are some suggestions for when you travel:

  • Bring extra supplies, just in case it’s hard to get them at your destination.
  • If you’re taking a plane, train, or bus, carry your supplies with you. Don’t put them in your checked luggage. This will help you be prepared if you’re separated from your luggage.

Sexuality

Sexuality includes many aspects of caring and closeness. It isn’t only having sex. You and your partner can build other forms of sexual and emotional expression. Most important, remember that your surgery doesn’t change your feelings for each other. Sexual counseling to talk about these issues can help. Any member of your healthcare team can refer you to counseling.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers free booklets on cancer and sexual health called Sex and the Man With Cancer and Sex and the Woman With Cancer. You can get copies by calling 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345) or visiting the ACS website, www.cancer.org.

MSK’s Male Sexual & Reproductive Medicine Program

After surgery, men will have erectile dysfunction (ED). There are treatments to help with this. We recommend that men see a specialist in the Male Sexual & Reproductive Medicine Program. You can make an appointment by calling 646-888-6024.

MSK’s Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program

After surgery, women won’t able to bear children if their reproductive organs were taken out. Some women may also have changes in the structure of their vagina. We recommend that women see a specialist in the Female Sexual Medicine & Women’s Health Program. You can make an appointment by calling 646-888-5076.

Managing your feelings

You may have new and upsetting feelings after a surgery for a serious illness. Many people say they felt weepy, sad, worried, nervous, irritable, or angry at one time or another. You may find that you cannot control some of these feelings. If this happens, it’s a good idea to seek emotional support. Your healthcare provider can refer you to MSK’s Counseling Center. You can also reach them by calling 646-888-0200.

The first step in coping is to talk about how you feel. Family and friends can help. We can also reassure, support, and guide you. It’s always a good idea to let us know how you, your family, and your friends are feeling emotionally. Many resources are available to you and your family. We’re here to help you and your family and friends handle the emotional aspects of your illness. We can help no matter if you’re in the hospital or at home.

Many people join one of MSK’s online or in-person bladder cancer support groups. For information about those groups and other resources, such as the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), read the “Resources” section of this guide.

Using MyMSK

MyMSK (my.mskcc.org) is your MSK patient portal. You can use it to send and read messages from your care team, view your test results, see your appointment dates and times, and more. You can also invite your caregiver to make their own account so they can see information about your care.

If you do not have a MyMSK account, you can sign up at my.mskcc.org. You can get an enrollment ID by calling 646-227-2593 or your doctor’s office.

Watch How to Enroll in MyMSK: Memorial Sloan Kettering's Patient Portal to learn more. You can also contact the MyMSK Help Desk by emailing [email protected] or calling 800-248-0593.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • A fever of 101 °F (38.3 °C) or higher.
  • Chills.
  • Any bleeding.
  • New leakage or drainage from your incision.
  • More leakage or drainage from your incision.
  • Pus-like drainage from your incision.
  • Redness at your incision.
  • Increased pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Leg swelling or pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Catheter or drainage tubes that are dislodged or not draining.
  • No bowel movements for more than 3 days.
  • No gas at all.
  • Decreased urine output.
  • Any problems you didn’t expect.
  • Any questions or concerns.

After , during the weekend, and on holidays, call 212-639-2000. Ask to speak to the person on call for your healthcare provider.

Support services

This section has a list of support services. They may help you as you get ready for your surgery and recover after your surgery.

As you read through this section, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

Bladder Cancer Support Group
This is a live, online support and education group for people who have bladder cancer or who have been treated for bladder cancer. People share their personal experiences and provide practical and emotional support for one another. Discussions are led by a social worker, nurse, and WOC nurse.

This group meets the 2nd Thursday of each month from noon to  Visit www.msk.org/event/bladder-cancer-support-group for more information or to register.

MSK support services

Admitting Office
212-639-7606
Call if you have questions about your hospital admission, such as asking for a private room.

Anesthesia
212-639-6840
Call if you have questions about anesthesia.

Blood Donor Room
212-639-7643
Call for information if you’re interested in donating blood or platelets.

Bobst International Center
888-675-7722
We welcome patients from around the world and offer many services to help. If you’re an international patient, call for help arranging your care.

Counseling Center
www.msk.org/counseling
646-888-0200
Many people find that counseling helps them. Our Counseling Center offers counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups. We can also prescribe medicine to help if you feel anxious or depressed. Ask a member of your care team for a referral or call the number above to make an appointment.

Food Pantry Program
646-888-8055
We give food to people in need during their cancer treatment. Talk with a member of your care team or call the number above to learn more.

Integrative Medicine Service
www.msk.org/integrativemedicine
Our Integrative Medicine Service offers many services to complement (go along with) traditional medical care. For example, we offer music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy. Call 646-449-1010 to make an appointment for these services.

You can also schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in the Integrative Medicine Service. They’ll work with you to make a plan for creating a healthy lifestyle and managing side effects. Call 646-608-8550 to make an appointment for a consultation.

MSK Library
library.mskcc.org
212-639-7439
You can visit our library website or call to talk with the library reference staff. They can help you find more information about a type of cancer. You can also visit the library’s Patient and Health Care Consumer Education Guide.

Nutrition Services
www.msk.org/nutrition
212-639-7312
Our Nutrition Service offers nutritional counseling with one of our clinical dietitian nutritionists. Your clinical dietitian nutritionist will talk with you about your eating habits. They can also give advice on what to eat during and after treatment. Ask a member of your care team for a referral or call the number above to make an appointment.

Patient and Community Education
www.msk.org/pe
Visit our patient and community education website to search for educational resources, videos, and online programs.

Patient Billing
646-227-3378
Call if you have questions about preauthorization with your insurance company. This is also called preapproval.

Patient Representative Office
212-639-7202
Call if you have questions about the Health Care Proxy form or concerns about your care.

Perioperative Nurse Liaison
212-639-5935
Call if you have questions about MSK releasing any information while you’re having surgery.

Private Duty Nurses and Companions
917-862-6373
You can request private nurses or companions to care for you in the hospital and at home. Call to learn more.

Rehabilitation Services 
www.msk.org/rehabilitation 
Cancers and cancer treatments can make your body feel weak, stiff, or tight. Some can cause lymphedema (swelling). Our physiatrists (rehabilitation medicine doctors), occupational therapists (OTs), and physical therapists (PTs) can help you get back to your usual activities.

  • Rehabilitation medicine doctors diagnose and treat problems that affect how you move and do activities. They can design and help coordinate your rehabilitation therapy program, either at MSK or somewhere closer to home. Call Rehabilitation Medicine (Physiatry) at 646-888-1929 to learn more.
  • An OT can help if you’re having trouble doing usual daily activities. For example, they can recommend tools to help make daily tasks easier. A PT can teach you exercises to help build strength and flexibility. Call Rehabilitation Therapy at 646-888-1900 to learn more.

Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program
646-888-8106
At MSK, care does not end after your treatment. The RLAC Program is for patients and their families who have finished treatment.

This program has many services. We offer seminars, workshops, support groups, and counseling on life after treatment. We can also help with insurance and employment issues.

Sexual Health Programs
Cancer and cancer treatments can affect your sexual health, fertility, or both. MSK’s sexual health programs can help you before, during, or after your treatment.

Social Work
www.msk.org/socialwork
212-639-7020
Social workers help patients, families, and friends deal with common issues for people who have cancer. They provide individual counseling and support groups throughout your treatment. They can help you communicate with children and other family members.

Our social workers can also help refer you to community agencies and programs. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, they also have information about financial resources. Call the number above to learn more.

Spiritual Care
212-639-5982
Our chaplains (spiritual counselors) are available to listen, help support family members, and pray. They can contact community clergy or faith groups, or simply be a comforting companion and a spiritual presence. Anyone can ask for spiritual support. You do not have to have a religious affiliation (connection to a religion).

MSK’s interfaith chapel is located near Memorial Hospital’s main lobby. It’s open 24 hours a day. If you have an emergency, call 212-639-2000. Ask for the chaplain on call.

Tobacco Treatment Program
www.msk.org/tobacco
212-610-0507
If you want to quit smoking, MSK has specialists who can help. Call to learn more.

Virtual Programs
www.msk.org/vp
We offer online education and support for patients and caregivers. These are live sessions where you can talk or just listen. You can learn about your diagnosis, what to expect during treatment, and how to prepare for your cancer care.

Sessions are private, free, and led by experts. Visit our website to learn more about Virtual Programs or to register.

 
 

External support services

Access-A-Ride
web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/guide.htm
877-337-2017
In New York City, the MTA offers a shared ride, door-to-door service for people with disabilities who can’t take the public bus or subway.

Air Charity Network
www.aircharitynetwork.org
877-621-7177
Provides travel to treatment centers.

American Cancer Society (ACS)
www.cancer.org
800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345)
Offers a variety of information and services, including Hope Lodge, a free place for patients and caregivers to stay during cancer treatment.

Cancer and Careers
www.cancerandcareers.org
A resource for education, tools, and events for employees with cancer.

CancerCare
www.cancercare.org
800-813-4673
275 Seventh Avenue (Between West 25th & 26th Streets)
New York, NY 10001
Provides counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications, and financial assistance.

Cancer Support Community
www.cancersupportcommunity.org
Provides support and education to people affected by cancer.

Caregiver Action Network
www.caregiveraction.org
800-896-3650
Provides education and support for people who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability.

Corporate Angel Network
www.corpangelnetwork.org
866-328-1313
Offers free travel to treatment across the country using empty seats on corporate jets.

Gilda’s Club
www.gildasclubnyc.org
212-647-9700
A place where people living with cancer find social and emotional support through networking, workshops, lectures, and social activities.

Good Days
www.mygooddays.org
877-968-7233
Offers financial assistance to pay for copayments during treatment. Patients must have medical insurance, meet the income criteria, and be prescribed medication that’s part of the Good Days formulary.

Healthwell Foundation
www.healthwellfoundation.org
800-675-8416
Provides financial assistance to cover copayments, health care premiums, and deductibles for certain medications and therapies.

Joe’s House
www.joeshouse.org
877-563-7468
Provides a list of places to stay near treatment centers for people with cancer and their families.

LGBT Cancer Project
http://lgbtcancer.com
Provides support and advocacy for the LGBT community, including online support groups and a database of LGBT-friendly clinical trials.

LIVESTRONG Fertility 
www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/fertility-services
855-744-7777
Provides reproductive information and support to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments have risks associated with infertility.

Look Good Feel Better Program
lookgoodfeelbetter.org
800-395-LOOK (800-395-5665)
This program offers workshops to learn things you can do to help you feel better about your appearance. For more information or to sign up for a workshop, call the number above or visit the program’s website.

National Cancer Institute
www.cancer.gov
800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237)

National Cancer Legal Services Network
www.nclsn.org
Free cancer legal advocacy program.

National LGBT Cancer Network
www.cancer-network.org
Provides education, training, and advocacy for LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk.

Needy Meds
www.needymeds.org
Lists Patient Assistance Programs for brand and generic name medications.

NYRx
www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/program/pharmacy.htm
Provides prescription benefits to eligible employees and retirees of public sector employers in New York State.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
www.pparx.org
888-477-2669
Helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get free or low-cost medications.

Patient Access Network Foundation
www.panfoundation.org
866-316-7263
Gives help with copayments for patients with insurance.

Patient Advocate Foundation
www.patientadvocate.org
800-532-5274
Provides access to care, financial assistance, insurance assistance, job retention assistance, and access to the national underinsured resource directory.

RxHope
www.rxhope.com
877-267-0517
Provides assistance to help people get medications they have trouble affording.

Bladder resources

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network
bcan.org

National Association for Continence
nafc.org

United Ostomy Associations of America
www.ostomy.org

Wound Ostomy Continence Organization
www.wocn.org
Go to this website to find a WOC nurse in your area. The website also has information on:

  • Resources
  • All major suppliers of ostomy products
  • Support groups

Educational resources

This section lists the educational resources mentioned in this guide. They will help you get ready for your surgery and recover after your surgery.

As you read through these resources, write down questions to ask your healthcare provider.

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Last Updated

Sunday, May 28, 2023