Biological treatment (BCG) for bladder cancer is a process that uses the person's immune system to fight off the cancer. This type of therapy is called biotherapy. This treatment is often used after transurethral resection (TUR), which stops the cancer and prevents it from coming back.
How it Works
The drug BCG is inserted directly into the person's bladder through a catheter. A catheter is a circular, thin and hollow tube. BCG has been shown to be effective against superficial bladder tumors. BCG triggers the person's immune system to destroy and reduce the side of the tumor.
Preparation for Treatment
Before you receive the treatment, preparation is needed. Preparation includes drinking nothing to small amounts for two hours beforehand. This is needed because it will cause the kidneys to produce less urine, which stops the BCG from being diluted in the person's bladder.
When the treatment is over and before you go home, be sure to use the toilet to discard the drug from the body. At home, you should wash the genitals with antibacterial soap. Also, drinking fluids following the procedure will help dilute the urine and decrease the the risk for a urine infection.
Side effects are very common within a few hours after the treatment. Possible side effects include pain while urinating, flulike symptoms that include a fever and aches, and blood in the urine. If these symptoms continue for more than two to three days, inform your health care provider immediately.
Treatments are usually given once a week to patients. You will lie down for 15 minutes and be given the BCG mixed in with 50 millileters of normal saline. The fluid stays within the bladder for about an hour.