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Bladder Cancer

3 years 9 months ago #48445 by sara.anne
Ed, BCG is a modified TB bacterium that was developed in the 1920's to inoculate children against TB. It has not been used for this for a long time. It has been tried against many types of cancer..one of its biggest failures was against malignant melanoma, where it was a bust.

Someone decided to try it against bladder cancer and it worked. It is instilled into the bladder, and you (try to) hold it for two hours and then pee it out. It is not like chemotherapy where a chemotherapeutic agent is administered into the body systemically. While there can be side effects, and there is some discomfort involved, it has none of the types of side effects that chemotherapy does.

Sara Anne

Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
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3 years 9 months ago #48443 by Ed OH
Thank you for the information. I am thinking BCG is just a new name for the chemo stuff. When I set my appointment for the first BCG treatment, the nurse advised me it was chemotherapy. In addition to that while in recovery, the doctor advised my son that I would have to go through chemo.
I have obtained a second opinion. The new urologist calls what I have , low grade, nuance tumors. He has also advised that 50% of the time the tumors come back.
When I had my colon tumor removed the surgeon recommended I go through chemo. A test was done that indicated the risk of cancer returning was 19% before I went through chemo. Seems to me 50% versus 19% return possibilities the BCG treatment would be an automatic. Especially, since this treatment is to rebuild the immune system. With the information I was provided, the BCG is TB bacteria, that is induced into the bladder.
So thank you again for your help.

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3 years 9 months ago #48439 by sara.anne
So sorry that you are learning one of the hard facts about bladder cancer; even when it is "low grade" it has a nasty habit of coming back. Your urologist's treatment plan was exactly what most would have done in your case. BCG is not as effective in low grade tumors as it is in high grade, more rapidly growing ones. Therefore, with low grade the usual first step is to remove the tumor, and then keep a close watch to see if the cancer returns. In many cases it does not.

If a low grade cancer returns, especially with multiple tumors such as yours, then BCG is used. And, BTW, BCG is not chemotherapy. It is an immunotherapy where the BCG is used to stimulate the immune system in the bladder lining to help it to reject any cancer cells that form. And, while many many of us have gone through BCG treatments with minimal problems and tolerable side effects, it can have side effects and should not be used unless there is a chance it will work.

Hope this clarifies things a bit for you. I know you will now have even more questions! We have all been there...right where you are now.

If you do not have confidence in your urologist, a second opinion at a center that treats LOTS of bladder cancer patients might be in order. However, he does seem to be doing what should be done.

Sara Anne

Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
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3 years 9 months ago #48430 by Ed OH
Hello everyone. I have survived Colon cancer and have been battling with bladder cancer for two years. I have lost faith in my urologist. First surgery, removal of a tumor, low grade non-invasive. All was well a check up last June showed clear. A check up in December showed another tumor. Surgery was done January 12 of this year. Three tumors were removed. Urologist said before last procedure no chemo would be needed. A week later he tells me I need to go through 6 treatments of BCG and wants me to take Bladder 2+2 as well. Seems to me the BCG should have been done after the first surgery. Anyone out there have any comments? The pathology reports are both the same.

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