Cancer Home > Biological Treatment for Bladder Cancer

A biological treatment for bladder cancer uses the body's immune system to fight cancer. Biological treatment for bladder cancer is also known as biotherapy or immunotherapy. Biological treatments are most often used after transurethral resection for superficial bladder cancer. This helps prevent the cancer from coming back. Side effects of a biological treatment for bladder cancer can include (but are not limited to) irritation in the bladder, an urgent need to urinate, and the need to urinate frequently.

Biological Treatment for Bladder Cancer: An Overview

Biological treatment for bladder cancer uses the body's natural ability (immune system) to fight cancer. This type of bladder cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy. Biological treatment is most often used after transurethral resection (TUR) for superficial bladder cancer. This helps prevent the cancer from coming back.
 
(Click Bladder Cancer Treatment for more information about other treatment options for bladder cancer.)
 
The doctor may use intravesical biological therapy with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) solution. BCG solution contains live, weakened bacteria that stimulate the immune system to kill cancer cells in the bladder. Doctors will use a catheter to put the solution in the bladder, and the patient must hold the solution in the bladder for about 2 hours. BCG treatment is usually done once a week for 6 weeks.
 
(Click BCG Bladder Cancer Treatment for more information about the BCG treatment.)
 

Side Effects of Biological Treatment for Bladder Cancer

Side effects of biological treatment and BCG for bladder cancer treatment include:
 
  • Irritation in the bladder
  • An urgent need to urinate
  • The need to urinate frequently
  • Pain, especially when urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea
  • A low-grade fever
  • Chills.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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