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Treatments

Treatments

December 14, 2021
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There are two unique treatments associated with bladder cancer. One is called BCG. BCG is a type of inactivated tuberculosis bacteria that’s used to decrease the chance of surface aggressive bladder cancers from recurring. It seems highly unusual to talk about tuberculosis bacteria being put in the bladder, but it was noticed during a pandemic that the cancer rates were lower in patients who had contracted tuberculosis. Many years later, this concept turned into a treatment for bladder cancer. A surface cancer of the bladder called carcinoma in situ is an aggressive type of bladder cancer, even though it’s just on the surface. In BCG, this inactivated tuberculosis bacteria, is placed in the bladder once a week. It doesn’t enter the body’s bloodstream, just gets put inside the bladder and then emptied out, activates your body’s own immune system in order to decrease the chance of regrowth of bladder cancer. The second interesting feature about bladder cancer that has been recently discovered is that not all cancers can be visible under white light. When I say white light, I mean, the light that you’re used to with the light bulbs in your house are the same lights that are on the cameras in the operating room. When we’re looking at the bladder, there’s a new technique called blue light cystoscopy. We put a fluorescent medication in the bladder that gets absorbed by cancer cells. When the doctor looks in with this special blue camera, the fluorescent cells light up if there are patches of cancer. And cancers can be discovered that are not visible with the naked eye under normal white light conditions. This is a developing field.