Side Effects of BCG for Bladder Cancer


According to the American Cancer Society, the Baccillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) protocol is the most effective treatment for early-stage bladder cancer. BCG uses a weakened form of the live tuberculosis vaccine and deposits it directly into the bladder via a catheter.

Common Side Effects

Side effects last between three to five days and are most commonly bladder irritation and burning similar to a urinary tract infection.

Other Side Effects

Other possible side effects patients may experience due to BCG treatment include frequent urination, bladder spasms, discomfort and blood in the urine.


Because BCG uses a live tuberculosis vaccine, patients will be asked to use the same toilet, disinfect the toilet with bleach and use condoms during and after treatment.


Complications of BCG treatment include infection, which is signaled by the presence of fever. Patients who develop fevers after BCG should contact their physician.


According to Cancer Reasearch UK, while rare, it is possible to contract tuberculosis from a BCG treatment. Consult with a doctor if symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain, coughing, weakness or skin rash result.

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