Intravesical chemotherapy is different from what most people picture when they think of chemotherapy - drugs given intravenously through a vein in your arm. With intravesical therapy, chemotherapy drugs are administered directly into your bladder by passing through your urethra with a catheter. Intravesical chemotherapy is often used in the treatment for non-muscle invasive bladder cancers, as administering chemotherapy drugs directly into the bladder can kill cancer cells. Administering the drugs directly into the bladder allows you to avoid many of the unwanted side effects usually associated with systemic chemotherapy, such as hair loss and nausea. The main side effects of intravesical chemotherapy are irritation of the bladder and a feeling of burning on urination.
Intravesical chemotherapy may be administered as a single dose immediately following a TURBT procedure. This approach has been shown to lengthen time between recurrences. It may also be administered in a cycle of doses given weekly as an outpatient, similar to the above description of induction BCG.
Your doctor may consider the following intravesical chemotherapies as options for treating your non-muscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of the treatment that is recommended.