what is bcg therapy for bladder cancer



Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG is the most common intravesical immunotherapy for treating early-stage bladder cancer. It’s used to help keep the cancer from growing and to help keep it from coming back. BCG is a germ that’s related to the one that causes tuberculosis (TB), but it doesn’t usually cause serious disease.Jan 30, 2019

What is the success rate of BCG treatment for bladder cancer?

This method of treatment is considered a form of immunotherapy, which is an emerging form of cancer treatment. The success rate for BCG treatment for bladder cancer is about 90%, which is considered the best life-saving rate by any treatment.

Is BCG treatment a form of chemotherapy?

Is BCG treatment a form of chemotherapy? No. Although intravesical immunotherapy and intravesical chemotherapy are given the same way, these two treatments use different types of drugs. While chemotherapy drugs attack cancer cells directly, immunotherapy drugs harness the power of your immune system.

What are the side effects of BCG treatment?

Common side effects of BCG include needing to urinate more often; burning or pain when urinating; blood in the urine; a mild fever; and tiredness. These side effects usually last a couple of days after each BCG treatment session. Less often, the BCG may spread through the body and can affect any organ.

What are the long term side effects of BCG treatment for bladder cancer?

These adverse effects include fever, malaise, and bladder irritation (urination frequency, dysuria, or mild hematuria). Fever indicates adequate immune activation and is associated with a more favorable antitumor response (25). Skin rash and arthralgia are possible allergic reactions (26,27).

How painful is BCG treatment?

It is generally not considered a painful procedure, though some may find it uncomfortable. Any urine remaining in the bladder will be drained and then a BCG solution will be inserted into the bladder next to the tumor and should remain for two hours.

Does BCG cause hair loss?

Hair loss does not occur with BCG.

Is BCG better than chemo?

BCG is most commonly used in intravesical immunotherapy for NMIBC and appears to be more effective than intravesical chemotherapy in preventing tumor recurrence and progression. Especially for those with high-risk NMIBC, BCG immunotherapy is considered as a gold-standard treatment (29).

What happens after your first BCG treatment?

Treatment with BCG can cause a wide range of symptoms. It’s common to have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, achiness, chills, and fatigue. These can last for 2 to 3 days after treatment. It also commonly causes a burning feeling in the bladder, the need to urinate often, and even blood in the urine.

Does BCG treatment make you sick?

Some people may experience flu-like symptoms for a few days after having BCG therapy. In rare cases, BCG can spread to other parts of the body and cause an infection. Anyone who experiences signs of infection or serious side effects should speak to their doctor immediately.

Can bladder cancer return after BCG?

The standard of care for patients with high-grade (HG) non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) remains intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) following transurethral resection. Unfortunately, up to 75% will develop tumor recurrence and 20% will progress within 5 years despite intravesical therapy.

Can BCG treatment damage kidneys?

Local and systemic infection following intravesical BCG is widely reported as compared to immune mediated local or systemic hypersensitivity reactions involving kidneys; acute kidney injury (AKI) and other renal manifestations are well reported but not of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

What happens if BCG treatment doesn’t work?

BCG failure usually carries a risk of recurrence but rarely of progression. For low-grade failure, intravesical chemotherapy is a valid option. This scenario is different from that where BCG intravesical therapy is unsuccessful in high-risk T1 disease and/or CIS, where a risk of progression may sometimes reach 50%.

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