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Some patients with cancer experience urination trouble as a result of their cancer treatments. The side effects of these urination problems can be temporary or long term.

The urinary system or urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, the bladder and the urethra. Radiation therapy can irritate the bladder and urinary tract, and some patients experience pain when they urinate. Side effects of chemotherapy can include cystitis (irritation of the inside of the bladder wall) and urinary tract infections. Additionally, exposure to certain chemotherapy drugs can affect the kidneys so that they do not properly clear the body of wastes or urine.

Moffitt's medical staff can help cancer patients who are experiencing urinary troubles related to cancer therapy. If you are experiencing any of the following, call your clinician.

  • A fever of 100.5° F (38° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • If you are not able to urinate
  • Pain, cramps or a burning feeling when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine
  • Urine that is cloudy or a different color (such as orange, red, green, or dark yellow)
  • Urine that has a strong smell
  • A strong urge to urinate more often
  • Trouble urinating (difficulty starting to urinate, trouble getting all the urine out, feeling that you have to urinate right away)
  • Leaking a little urine when you sneeze or cough

It is common for your urine to change color or smell while you are receiving chemotherapy. Talk with your doctor or nurse to find out what changes are expected and ways to manage them. Let your doctor or nurse know if you have any of these changes.

It is important to communicate with your doctor or nurse. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What problems should I call you about?
  • What urination changes are likely that I might have?
  • How long might these urination troubles last?
  • How much liquid should I drink every day?
  • Are there things I can do to feel better?

Some things can make urinary problems worse. Your doctor or nurse may suggest that you limit or avoid certain things, such as:

  • Alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, liquor, mixed drinks)
  • Drinks with caffeine (coffee, black tea)
  • Carbonated drinks (sodas, colas)
  • Spicy foods
  • Tobacco products

Your Moffitt health care team can help answer your questions about urinary trouble related to chemotherapy or radiation therapy you are receiving for cancer. You can call your clinical team by using 1-888-MOFFITT. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if you have any of the symptoms listed here or if you need to discuss any other concerns.


Source: National Cancer Institute