Some anticancer drugs can irritate the bladder or cause temporary or permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys. Some anticancer drugs cause the urine to change color or take on a strong or medicine-like odor. Some colors that you may see include orange, red, green, or yellow. Check with your doctor to see if the drugs you are taking may have any of these effects.
Your doctor or nurse will take a urine and blood samples to check how well your bladder and kidneys are working.
Always drink plenty of fluids to ensure good urine flow and help prevent problems. This is very important if you are taking drugs that affect the kidney and bladder. Water, juice, broth, ice cream, soup, popsicles, and gelatin are all considered fluids. However, you will want to avoid drinks that contain caffeine, like coffee, tea, and soda.
Symptoms related to your kidneys and bladder that can develop as a side effect of chemotherapy include:
Pain or burning when you urinate or after you empty your bladderPain or discomfort along your side and backFrequent, urgent urinationNot being able to urinateIncontinenceReddish or bloody urineFeverChills, especially shaking chills
Chemotherapy and you. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you.pdf. Updated June 2011. Accessed February 5, 2014.
Understanding chemotherapy: a guide for patients. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/understandingchemotherapyaguideforpatientsandfamilies/understanding-chemotherapy-more-side-effects-urine-bladder-kidney-problem. Updated March 17, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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