Medical Surgical Bladder cancer and cystoscopy #5


A client who is receiving external radiation for his bladder cancer is being discharged home. He remarks to the nurse how happy he will be when he gets home and is able to see his live-in grandchildren. Which statement by the nurse is best?


  1. “You will be radioactive for a short time and you will want to limit your time or avoid being around people.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client undergoing external radiation is never radioactive. The client nor family need to take any special precautions.

  2. “You will need to use a private bathroom and instruct your family to avoid contact with your waste.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because external radiation is just that, “externalâ€. Therefore, the client cannot excrete any harmful substance from undergoing external radiation. This is a concern only with internal or systemic radiation, or with chemotherapy.

  3. “I am very happy that you get to see your grandchildren soon and it has been a pleasure caring for you.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because it promotes positivity for the client. By conveying happiness, the nurse inspires hope in the client. This can assist in an optimistic wellness outcome for the client.

  4. “During your hospital stay, you have been indoors too long and should go outside with them and obtain some vitamin D from the sunshine.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client who undergoes external radiation will be at risk for impaired skin integrity. During discharge planning, the client will be advised to avoid exposing the skin to sunlight and extremes in temperature.


External radiation, also known as teletherapy, is a prescribed dose of radiation at a certain distance from the client using a beam. The client who undergoes external beam radiation is not radioactive.


Learning Outcomes

Radiation therapy is a treatment for bladder cancer. There are two types of radiation therapy. Internal, sometimes referred to as brachytherapy and external, referred to sometimes as teletherapy. With internal radiation, by the time the client is discharged home, the client is no longer radioactive. Special precautions were taken during the client’s hospital stay to protect hospital workers, other clients and visitors from the active radiation. With external radiation, the client is never radioactive. The client undergoing external radiation will be at risk for impaired skin integrity.

Test Taking Tip

Understand the differences between internal and external radiation and the precautions the client and their families should take with each.

Video Rationale