Side Effects of Treatment

When considering treatment options available to you, it is important to weigh the side effects and consequences of each one in order to ensure you are choosing the best possible course. It can also be helpful to discuss these possible side effects with your healthcare team. On this page, you will find the side effects most commonly experienced from each of the treatments listed in Treatment Options.


Surgery, especially a radical cystectomy, can have long-term consequences on overall quality of life. Living without a bladder can be a dramatic change, and some patients may want to establish keeping part of the bladder as an important treatment goal.
The side effects of surgery will depend on the procedure, and it is important to talk to your doctor to understand the possible side effects of the surgery. Some general side effects may include:

  • Long healing time
  • Infection
  • Mild bleeding and discomfort
  • Urine leaks, especially after creation of a neobladder
  • Erectile dysfunction in men after cystectomy
  • Damage to pelvic nerves (loss of sexual feeling and orgasm)


Side effects of chemotherapy will depend on the individual as well as the dose. They will also usually go away once treatment has been completed. They typically include:

  • Fatigue
  • Risk of infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea

Radiation therapy

Similarly to chemotherapy, these side effects will go away once treatment is finished.

  • Fatigue
  • Mild skin reactions
  • Loose bowel movements
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Bleeding from bladder or rectum


Information taken from