Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) for Bladder Cancer
How It Works
It is not clear how Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) works to treat bladder cancer. It may stimulate an immune response or cause inflammation of the bladder wall that destroys cancer cells within the bladder. BCG may be used to treat early-stage cancer, but it is used most commonly to prevent the return (recurrence) of noninvasive bladder cancer. It is most often used after cancer has been removed from the bladder using transurethral resection (TUR) surgery.
BCG is also used in some countries as a vaccine to provide protection against tuberculosis (TB).
When it is used to treat bladder cancer, BCG is given through a urinary catheter (intravesically) into the bladder.
Why It Is Used
BCG is used following TUR surgery for noninvasive bladder cancer in people who are at medium or high risk for recurrence of cancer. It can also be used following TUR surgery in people who cannot have a cystectomy procedure for bladder cancer, but its usefulness in these cases is limited.
How Well It Works
BCG greatly reduces the chance that cancer will progress after TUR surgery for noninvasive bladder cancer.1
Side effects from BCG may include:
More severe side effects may include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Research continues to determine the most effective strain of BCG and the best dosage schedule for the treatment of bladder cancer. Dosage schedules vary and are determined by your doctor.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.