Tuberculosis Cancer Treatment

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Tuberculosis medication can treat bladder cancer.
Tuberculosis medication can treat bladder cancer. (Image: doctor's treatment image by TEMISTOCLE LUCARELLI from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Bladder cancer is a serious disease that can be life threatening. There are a number of treatments for bladder cancer. The progression of the tumor will determine the type of treatment that is used to cure it. Tuberculosis cells can be used as a bladder cancer treatment.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a virus that usually effects the lungs. The tuberculosis bacilli, which is the young form of tuberculosis, is carried in the air, transferred from person to person by coughing, sneezing, breathing and talking. The bacteria sits in the lungs, where it may develop into the full-blown virus. The World Health Organization states that only 5 to 10 percent of people infected with the tuberculosis bacilli later develop the disease.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the development of a tumor in the bladder. Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) accounts for about 90 percent of bladder cancers, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Most examples of TCC are noninvasive, which means that the tumor is confined to the bladder wall. However, some cases of TCC become severe and invade the muscle wall of the bladder. Bladder cancer makes urination difficult, and can cause blood to appear in the urine. You may notice that the frequency of urination rises significantly.

Tuberculosis Treatment

If the bladder cancer is noninvasive, the tumor is easily removed using a minimally invasive instrument called a cystoscope. If there is a high chance of the noninvasive tumor recurring, the bladder will be treated with inactivated tuberculosis bacilli (bacilli that have been killed with heat or chemicals so that they do not cause tuberculosis but still elicit an immune system response). This causes inflammation of the wall of the bladder, which controls the growth of a tumor. This treatment is performed once a week for six weeks; then the bladder will be checked for tumor recurrence once a month using a cystoscope. This treatment is called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy.

Complications

In rare cases, BCG therapy can cause tuberculosis-like symptoms to flare up. Any lung-related problems during therapy, such as coughing and bringing up blood, should be discussed with your doctor. If this happens, you will be treated with antibiotics. Tuberculosis can take a long time to cure, so patience is important. While BCG therapy is effective, there is still a chance that a tumor will recur.

Considerations

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of bladder cancer. BCG therapy is not a cure for bladder cancer, but is used to treat a bladder that has been affected by cancer.

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