I specifically asked my uro about this; I had no real side effects. He said no....he has patients with no side effects for whom BCG was very effective and patients who got sick and it didn't work at all. As he said "it all depends." His senior nurse, who administered the BCG and who took the urine samples before each treatment, said that "sometimes" she can get an inkling from the amount of cellular debris in the urine specimen.
Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
When I asked Dr. Lamm (noted BCG expert) if my severe arthritic reaction meant that the BCG was doing it's thing, his answer to me was "It MIGHT be indicative" that BCG was being effective in fighting the bladder cancer.
Sometimes I will read a post here where a Uro has told his patient that bad side effects means that the BCG is working, but, after the way Dr. Lamm responded to my question, I interpret this to mean that they don't really know if it's a good sign or not. I sure do hope that I didn't go through all I went through for nothing.
I just don't know if there is a firm answer to this question, Saralee..
Age - 55
T1 G3 - Tumor free 2 yrs 3 months
Dx January 2006