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BCG side effects

My cystoscopy following BCG induction course indicated no evidence of disease, and I had zero side effects from the germ, for which I am grateful. Last week, I had the first of three BCG installations as part of my maintenance program and seemed to react after 24 hours. Nothing intolerable, but very uncomfortable - bladder aches, fatigue, feeling 'off'. After a day and a half, I felt fine. Has anyone had this pattern of side effects, or know if this is normal? Should I anticipate reacting to the next two installations? I realize it's different for each of us and I'm wondering if my symptoms can even be attributed to the BCG?

  1. @laurelg - congrats on the NED!! I have personally not had BCG but those side effects are common from other posts I have read. Fatigue seems to be common. It is great that you only experienced these for a short period of time. Hope that the other treatments go as well or better. Keep us updated. My best Linda Urbanski ( moderator, Bladdercancer.net team member)

    1. - Hi! I am finishing the third dose of my first maintenance BCG cycle. 3 months ago I had 6 weeks of BCG Induction followed 4 weeks later by a cystoscope that was NED. As far as BCG reactions - everyone is unique as to their reaction. I was like you - few, if any symptoms for first 3 instillations and then increasing ones for 4-6. The usual culprits - flu like feeling, frequency and urgency for urination. All pretty much cleared by the end of the second day.


      The maintenance was much different. Almost immediate symptoms with greater severity of the bladder related ones. Instead of a day recovery, it extended out to 3 days. However, I used AZO over the counter maximum pain relief for my second instillation and it helped immensely. I haven’t had any symptoms I consider so severe I would want to stop treatments. I want this cancer gone! Good luck!

      1. I so appreciate your response because it reflects what I've experienced so closely. And knowing that the maintence protocol is just three installations makes it easier as well. As for tolerating some discomfort, we are on precisely the same page! It is such a small price to pay to keep this cancer at bay. Best to you, Sailor.

      2. @Sailor - thank you for your response and the suggestion for pain relief. I did not have BCG treatments but have read from many that the side effects vary greatly. Hope you are doing well. My best Linda Urbanski ( moderator, Bladdercancer.net team member)

    2. congratulations on your NED. The best news. I have no personal BCG experience to share. Can anyone else chime in here and share their BCG experiences? Laura, Moderator, BladderCancer.net

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