Chemotherapy is a treatment used for cancer, including bladder cancer. Chemotherapy is used in a variety of ways depending on the development of the cancer.
For bladder cancer caught early, chemotherapy may be the only treatment needed. However, for moderate to high risk bladder cancers chemotherapy may be given following bladder surgery to ensure the cancer cells have been destroyed, or it may be given before surgery to shrink the size of the tumour to make it easier to remove. Some patients may have more than one dose of chemotherapy, usually once a week for six weeks.
A dose of chemotherapy is inserted directly into the bladder using a catheter. The chemotherapy solution is left in the bladder for about an hour before being drained away. The aim of this treatment is to treat the cancer and stop it from coming back or spreading into the deeper layers of the bladder.
After the procedure
Some of the chemotherapy fluid may be left in the urine, and this can severely irritate the skin and cause pain when urinating. It is advised to sit down when urinating and to wash the genitals with soap and water afterwards. It is important to use a condom when sexually active following treatment as the medication may be present in the semen or vaginal fluids which can cause irritation, and patients should not try to get pregnant or father a child during this time as the medication can cause birth defects.