Bladder Cancer Biological Therapy and Chemotherapy
Biological therapy uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Bladder cancer patients who undergo transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) for superficial bladder cancer may have a biologic treatment called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) treatment to help prevent the cancer from recurring.
A live, weakened bacterial organism, BCG is mixed into a solution and placed into the bladder via a catheter and the patient holds the solution in their bladder for two hours. The bacteria stimulate the immune system to kill any remaining cancer cells in the bladder. BCG treatment is usually done once a week for six weeks.
Depending on the stage of your bladder cancer, your physician may prescribe a type of chemotherapy as part of your treatment plan. Chemotherapy options for bladder cancer patients typically include:
- Intravesicular Chemotherapy: This type of regional chemotherapy, in which the anticancer drugs are delivered directly to the bladder, after the tumor is removed has several advantages: stronger doses of some medications may be given, and side effects associated with systemic chemotherapy are avoided or minimized. This procedure is usually repeated once a week for several weeks.
- Intravenous Chemotherapy: Systemic chemotherapy may be part of your treatment plan if cancer has invaded the bladder deeply or spread to other organs. Chemotherapy drugs are administered through a vein, and flow through the bloodstream to nearly every part of the body. The drugs are usually given in cycles so that a recovery period follows every treatment period.