Bladder cancer may be caught early and might need some minimally invasive procedures that would not require extensive surgery. But if the cancer progresses to a point where invasive surgery is needed, there could be many changes that affect the body. In cases where the entire bladder has to be removed (radical cystectomy), the surgery usually includes removing lymph nodes. But it would also include taking out the man's prostate and removing most of a woman's reproductive organs. For both sexes, this radical cystectomy would render them infertile.
Removal of the bladder also creates the need to find another way for the body to collect the urine it creates. There are a couple of different methods. One creates a route from the kidneys to the outside of the body through a tube that has been created from a piece of intestine. The urine then runs through the tube and attaches to a small bag on the outside of the body. The other method also uses a piece of intestine to create a small pouch within the body where urine can collect until it is drained through a tube by a catheter. There are several problems that could arise when dealing with either of these reconstructive issues, including cleanliness and infection.
Learning how to handle these physical changes in the body can also take an emotional toll, as can the constant fear or anxiety that the cancer may come back.