I had bladder surgery for removal of a non-invasive papillary urothelial cancer, low-grade TA. My doctor said I have a choice of BCG treatments or no treatments. I'm getting a second opinion from another doctor on Aug 22. I've done a lot of reading on this cancer and have pretty well concluded that I should take the BCG treatments even though there is no guarantee of no recurrence. I'm afraid if I don't take treatments, my temperment being what it is, I will always fear and worry the rest of my life; whereas, if I take the BCG at least I feel like I'm doing something. I hate making decisions with fear as the motivator but that is the world I'm living in. I'm asking those of you who have had BCG treatments to tell me what side effects you experienced. Thanks so much.
I had BCG treatments and it was very manageable. I did have the urgency to want to urinate and my bladder became inflamed for a few days but I still went to work and took some medicine from the doctor for incontinence and it calmed my bladder down. It is uncomfortable but again, it was better than chemotherapy I had to have for breast cancer. I have been cancer free in the bladder for 2 years and get a cystoscope check-up each year. I am glad I went through the treatments. Best wishes to you and hope you do well. I even wore a depends on the days when I felt I had to urinate but it was just the urge and I didn't want an accident at work.
Thanks so much for your experience with BCG. I saw another urologist yesterday for a second opinion and he brought in his colleague (another urologist) with him and after looking at the pathology and that it was low grade non invasive TA, and then talking to me on how I discovered it (I had no symptoms; it was discovered by accident when a kidney test revealed a shadow in the bladder). They thus recommended no BCG but I must be monitored diligently with cystoscopy for a long time. Thanks so much for taking time to talk to me.
I did a lot of research when I was diagnosed back in 2005 with a Ta, Grade II, and it seemed that the only time they treat Ta with BCG is if it's high grade (grades III or IV). They do monitor with cystoscopies, and I had one every 3 months for the first year, every six months for the next two years, and now just once a year for the past four years. So it sounds like your docs are in agreement with the advice from a lot of urologists, which is good.
I was told BCG treatments are what I should be given. I had a cystoscopy where they biopsied and removed a tumor. But I keep hearing "superficial" bladder cancer. Does that mean that I don't have bladder cancer?
No, superficial doesn't mean none...it means that the cancer was on the very edge, if you will, of the bladder wall (inside)...those cells are called transitional cells, and superficial means the tumor was completely in the transitional cells and had not started penetrating the middle layer (called the lamina propria). Whether or not to treat with BCG when a bladder tumor is superficial (usually staged as Ta, or Ta1) often depends on whether or not it's grade is low or high. There are four grades, and grades I and II are considered low grade, with grades III and IV being considered high-grade. High grade bladder cancers tend not only to recur more frequently, but also to be more aggressive when they recur. On the other hand, low grade tumors don't recur as often, and are not as aggressive, so it's safe to follow someone with low-grade tumors by using cystoscopies for a couple of years. Usually they do them at 3-month intervals for the first year following surgery, then they space them out more (either going to 4-month intervals the second year and then 6 months, and then one year.) The point is that IF the tumor is low grade and IF it does recur, they'll be able to catch it in plenty of time.
Then, it might be treated with BCG even if it's low grade, simply because it recurred.
The higher grade Ta's are more often treated with BCG for the reasons I stated previously - they tend to recur more often and be more aggressive.
There is a slight risk with BCG of developing tuberculosis, which is why they don't routinely use it unless the risk of developing TB is less than the risk of not doing any further treatment.
Last edited by SamQKitty; 12-01-2012 at 08:17 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to SamQKitty For This Useful Post: soneri46 (12-02-2012)
My husband had it with his bladder cancer stage 0 the first time and after 6 years it had returned stage 1 and now had it again...he did well both times...this time he did not have any symptoms and was found on routine exam...it is so important that you keep up with the exams. He is having biopsy next week....know all will be OK.