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Doctor-Patient Communication After a Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

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Published on May 17, 2021

Can Doctor-Patient Communication Improve Outcomes?

Good communication with your physician and medical team can make all the difference in the outcome for a bladder cancer patient. In this segment, Dr. Stephen Riggs, MD, Associate Professor in the Division of Urology at Levine Cancer Institute, offers advice to bladder cancer patients and caregivers about how to find good information about their diagnosis and the questions you should be asking your doctor to ensure effective communication.

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Transcript | Doctor-Patient Communication After a Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

How Should a Bladder Cancer Patient Prepare for an Appointment With Their Doctor?

Dr. Riggs: Great question about how to prepare yourself a visit, and I talk to patients about this a lot. I think one is, prepare in some manner before you get to the visit. Clearly internet, you can get about any information. But there's a fair amount of information on the internet about bladder cancer and any cancer. And there is a very good website,, that is a patient advocacy, only patient-centered website for bladder cancer that I know of.

And that will give you some weapons to kind of look and understand bladder cancer. They've got some really good well-written information to empower patients. So I think, "Hey,” understanding, “What are the three or four things I want to get out of the visit? What is my staging? What is my treatment plan? What do I need to do next? Should I get a second opinion?"

I think things in that sphere and asking your doctor, "Hey, is there anything I should be asking that you think that I've missed? What is the chance of my success? What are the alternate treatment options?" Things around your treatment course and the type of treatment. And should you get a second opinion? But most importantly, just doing a little pre-work and understanding what bladder cancer is to allow you to start understanding where you are so you have some word choices and some understanding when you talk to the doctor. Instead of being just a listener, you can be an active participant.

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