Re: What type of Treatments available
Treatment of stage I bladder cancer may include the following:
Surgical removal of the tumor.
Surgical removeal of the tumor followed by intravesical biologic therapy or chemotherapy. (Intravesical means that the therapy is introduced directly into the bladder.) Biological therapy drugs used to treat bladder cancer include an immune-stimulating bacterium, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is a bacterium used in tuberculosis vaccines. BCG can cause bladder irritation and blood in your urine. Some people feel as if they have the flu after treatment with BCG.
Another biologic treatment, Interferon is a protein that your immune system makes to help your body fight infections. A synthetic version of interferon, called interferon alfa, may be used to treat bladder cancer. Interferon alfa is sometimes used in combination with BCG. Interferon alfa can cause flu-like symptoms
If chemotherapy is used, it is introduced the same way, directly into the bladder. There are a number of chemotherapy agents for this use.
Another method of treatment is removal of part or all of the bladder...rarely used for Stage 1.
Radiation implants, with or without extermal radiation - also not the first choice for Stage 1.
If you do smoke, quitting is one of the best things you could do for yourself. There's an extremely strong link between smoking and bladder cancer, not to mention saving your lungs and heart. But the link between it and bladder cancer is extremely strong.
I think that knowing the exact stage of your bladder cancer will make a difference. When I had surgery, the hospital graded mine as "high" (this was a major Boston teaching hospital, too.) When I had the slides read by another hospital (also a major Boston teaching hospital), they rated it as Grade 2. My tumor was only a Ta, but even at that, had it been truly high grade, I would have pushed for further treatment, as even at the T-a stage, high grade bladder CA is know to recur more often. So I think knowing the EXACT stage is key here.
And, by the way, I had no pain either, first symptom was bleeding. And, to give you some encouragement, I have had no recurrences, and it'll have been 6 years next month since I had the surgery. I'm down to once a year with the cystoscopies, but I had them every three months for the first year, then every six months for the second year.
Good luck with this, and don't be afraid to ask questions and get a second opinion on the slides.