BCG or UTI?
BCG side effects mimicking a urinary tract infection
I have had 3 BCG treatments followed by 3 Mitomycin treatments. I am now in maintenance of 3 BCG treatments. Last week was my first BCG treatment in over 2 months. Within hours I started feeling the urgency to urinate constantly. Within 48 hours, I had every symptom listed above with the exception of the fever, so I naturally thought I was having BCG side effects.
Urine tests revealed I had a UTI
When I arrived at my urologist office for my second BCG, the first thing I always do is provide a urine sample at which time they informed me I have some sort of Urinary Tract Infection, they would cancel today's BCG and send urine out for culture.
In my 58 years of life, I have never had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). I had no idea what it felt like. I naturally assumed my bladder was irritated from three TURBT's within three months and all the treatments I've received. What I did not know is that the BCG treatments DO mimic infections.
Pay attention to your body during treatments
The lesson learned with this experience was to pay very close attention to your body. Everyone diagnosed with cancer will have some type of mild to moderate side effects and you need to be extremely vigilant about how you feel. Do BCG treatments irritate your bladder? Did the 2nd, 3rd, 20th, feel much worse? That is when you need to call your medical team and let them know. The worst that will happen is they will help you determine it is not an infection, but side effects. AND, their job is to help you deal with the symptoms.
Don't be afraid to call if you feel anything different - and honestly, don't be like me and "assume" you know what it is.
Did you know that May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month?