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My TURBT Experience

My TURBT Experience

TURBT: The operation is called a transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). Your surgeon removes the tumor in your bladder through the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. You undergo a TURBT under a general anesthetic at the same time as the test that looks inside the bladder (called a cystoscopy).1

I had no bladder cancer symptoms

My bladder cancer was actually found during my every 3 month scans for my Lung Cancer. I have CT Scans of my abdomen and my chest. I had no symptoms and was in shock. My oncologist sent me to a urologist right away.

The first step was a cystoscopy in the office environment. This is where a tube/catheter is inserted into your bladder that has a camera at the end of it so your physician has a clear view of what is going on. Of course, they found my tumor. I was told I would have to have a TURBT to remove the tumor.

A TURBT is done under general anesthesia so it did require pre-admission testing – bloodwork, chest x-ray, and meeting with a nurse to go over my history.

The IV was the worst part for me

Upon arrival at the hospital for my TURBT, I was taken to pre-op. I do have a port where I receive medications for my Lung Cancer and usually have blood draws from the port as well. However, during surgery, there is a risk that they have have to infuse a large amount of fluids into your IV, so my port is not used. They have to use an IV in a vein. Quite frankly, my veins are horrible so this is the worst part for me. After the IV is inserted, an array of people come in to see you – the anesthesiology team, the operating room nurses, your doctor and possibly your oncologist.

The first few days after the TURBT

When it is time to roll you to the operating room, the anesthesiology team injected a sedative. I remember turning the corner down a long hall and that was it – sound asleep.
I awoke to cramping in my bladder and could feel a catheter was inserted. After a TURBT, you are usually discharged the same day, however, if it is a large tumor, you may stay overnight.
The first few days were a bit rough. Cramping, a constant urge to pee, and sometimes blood when I went to the bathroom. Your doctor will probably give you a prescription for oxybutynin. This medication is used to treat overactive bladder and will help with the cramping. This is all normal.

My physician instructed me to rest for 3-5 days with NO lifting or excessive walking. I did come home with a catheter so this was not a problem. I had a post-op appointment with my urologist four days later when they removed catheter. After that, I was instructed to begin walking a bit each day, adding on more distance each day but was told no lifting anything over 10 pounds for at least 6 weeks. The reason for this is because during the surgery the tumor is cut away and then it is cauterized to stop the bleeding.

I had no idea what to expect

Going into this surgery I had no idea what to expect. It was very uncomfortable (almost painful) at some points to have the catheter in but I think this was because it may have been touching a tender spot in my bladder. Some people tell me they had no problem with it.

Following the TURBT, the normal procedure is to have chemo injected directly into your bladder for 6 weeks. The two medications used are BCG and Mitomycin. I, personally, am allergic to both so I cannot have any type of treatment to prevent recurrence so I have a cystoscopy every three months and a TURBT every three months.

Best of luck to those of you just joining the club no one wants to join – but please let me know how your TURBT goes and any suggestions you my have to help others.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Trans urethral removal of bladder tumour (TURBT). Cancer Research UK. Published April 20, 2015.