Treatment Experiences

  • By sarah.wallin Keymaster

    A bladder cancer diagnosis can feel like a whirlwind of information, including the doctor’s advice for treatment. It can be difficult to know what to expect from the treatment you may receive.

    This is a space to share about your treatment experiences, and read about others.

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  • By Noel Forrest Moderator

    After being diagnosed with bladder cancer I found it initially difficult to understand what was happening and what to do next. I was given a huge amount of information to digest along with carrying the fear of things not working out for the best. The first thing that was easy to get my head around was the removal of the tumour. At this stage it’s vital that this is done so they can see the grade of the cancer and to take a biopsy of the tumour and muscle around the bladder wall so they can see if the cancer is contained within the bladder. Once this is complete you will have a choice to make. If the cancer is contained within the bladder lining you can treat this with a number of treatments. The most common treatments will either be chemotherapy or BCG. Both procedures generally require you to visit a hospital once a week for 6 weeks, where you will have either treatment put straight into the bladder, through the uretha. You can also consider the removal of the bladder completely, which is a major operation, but it does eliminate the possibility of the cancer leaving the bladder and spreading. You can also consider alternatives to this that will need to be discussed with your doctors. I opted for the BCG treatment after reading up on all three of the options I was considering. If the biopsy showed that the cancer was more invasive and moved out of the bladder into the muscle then the likely hood of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body is very high. In this instance the options will be different. The removal of the bladder will be most likely along with other possible treatments. This will need to be discussed with your medical team. There are a number of ways that the bladder can be removed. Again this will need to be discussed with your medical team to look at the best option for you, I was fortunate to be diagnosed with non-invasive bladder cancer and so didn’t consider the removal of the bladder for myself. Once you finish your treatment of BCG in my case you are put under general anaesthetic so they can look within the bladder with a camera and to take a biopsy. This is to see if your treatment was successful. If your results come back showing cancerous cells present then you have the exact same options as before available to you, which is unfortunate but sometimes the process takes more than one effort to be successful. I was fortunate to be told that my treatment was successful. However being told your cancer free didn’t end there for me. There is a chance that cancer can return so to be extra safe and try to prevent this happening I was given the option to under go what was explained as maintenance work. This involves me receiving BCG every 3 months for 3 weeks, over a year. I’m currently in that process right now. After the year I will receive a cystoscopy to see if the bladder is clear. If that is positive I will then have to visit every 3 months for a year, each time receiving a cystoscopy. The treatment process can be long and difficult, but it’s vital we persevere to rid ourselves of this disease.

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