Coping with Fears of Bladder Cancer Recurrence
First comes the diagnosis. Then come all of the questions. The worries. The concerns. And the fears.
But after treatment finishes, those fears disappear, right? Not always. In fact, fear of the cancer coming back is one of the most common concerns shared by bladder cancer survivors.
Our BladderCancer.net community weighed in on how the worries of recurrence affect their daily lives. Here’s what they had to say.
Over time, my fears of recurrence have:
Fighting the fears
Between the routine checkups and the endless CT scans, there’s one thing that remains constant: fear. Fear about the present. Fear about the future. What will life look like in six months? A year from now?
For those living with bladder cancer, the concept of time seems to take on a whole new meaning. This year was full of tremendous challenges, which piled on even more stress and uncertainty we didn’t need. The weight of it all can be so hard to carry sometimes.
Then there’s the emotional toll that it takes on us. The days that feel like everything’s falling apart and we just can’t seem to deal. The days filled with sunken bouts of sadness and anxiety. And the days where we don’t even know what to feel. It’s exhausting. What to do? Finding a balance between the sparks of worry and the glimmers of hope could help.
“The thought is constantly there: that your life can change on a dime.”– BladderCancer.net Community Member
When the fear of recurrence hits, I
Spotting the signs
Frequent urination. Pain while urinating. Blood in the urine. We know the signs...and we’re always watching. Will today be the day that a symptom shows up? Or am I in the clear?
Many in our community say they feel drained by the constant monitoring of symptoms. How to cope? To take a little pressure off, some find comfort in finding ways to lighten their day. And seeking out help when needed is an absolute must.
“I always feel like every symptom has to be monitored and worried about...and it sucks.”– BladderCancer.net Community Member
Finding peace through acceptance
What to do when the worries start to feel too heavy to bear? Some in our community say they try a change in perspective. Learning how to make peace with where we are at this very moment can help make everything seem a little less scary.
For those just beginning their journey, it can be hard to look ahead without fear of what tomorrow may hold.
You know that expression – time changes everything? Some members in our community have found this to be true. As time passes, some now look at life – and their bladder cancer experience – through new eyes. And others even look forward to their diagnosis anniversaries.
“I’ve got too much to do, too much to live for. I’m four years cancer-free. It’s still in the back of my mind, but it's not in the forefront anymore.”– BladderCancer.net Community Member
Assess and de-stress
We can’t control the future. But we can control the way we deal with our current realities. The fear of recurrence is very normal for those in our bladder cancer community. If we stay in the present moment and share our fears with others, we can begin to shift our story and take back control.
How often do you check for signs of bladder cancer?