Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) for Bladder Cancer
How It Works
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is used to treat bladder cancer because it stimulates immune responses that can destroy 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
Studies show that treatment with BCG delays the recurrence of cancer, slows cancer growth, and possibly helps people with bladder cancer live longer.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org