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Bladder Late Effects

Most survivors of childhood cancer do not experience problems with their urinary bladder because of their cancer treatment.

But certain therapies can affect how the bladder functions.

How the Urinary Bladder Works

  • The urinary bladder is the organ that stores the body’s urine.
  • The kidneys remove waste from the blood and make urine.
  • The urine travels through tubes called the ureters to the bladder.
  • Then urine leaves the body through the urethra.
Medical illustration of urinary tract anatomy

The kidneys remove waste from the blood and make urine. The urine travels through tubes called the ureters to the bladder. Then urine leaves the body through the urethra.

Cancer Treatments That Can Cause Urinary Problems

Urinary Problems That May Occurr

Know Your Risks and Monitor Your Health

Childhood cancer survivors should have annual physical examinations. They should share a copy of their Survivorship Care Plan with their physician. The plan includes details about your cancer treatment, including blood transfusions, and information about health problems that may occur because of your treatment.

Report urinary symptoms immediately to a primary care provider. These symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine (pink or red urine)
  • Frequent urination or urge to urinate
  • Trouble urinating
  • Incomplete emptying of bladder
  • Pain during urination

The provider may perform urine tests to examine the urine and check for infection.

Drinking extra fluids can help flush out the bladder. But if you have kidney or heart problems, check with your physician before drinking additional liquids.

Avoid coffee, tea, cola drinks, and other drinks with caffeine.


Reviewed: December 2019