I don’t see your decision as an either/ or. I see it as a first and second . BCG is wonderful for high grade non-invasive bladder cancer. The chances of it working are very high and with careful monitoring any return should be found early. At that point I would think the decision would be made as to whether to try BCG a second time or go to radical cystectomy.
As you probably know I was diagnosed with papillary as well as CIS and underwent BCG and BCG maintenance and have now been clear for 11 years. Of course your mileage may vary and of course there’s always a chance that the cancer may return since that is bladder cancer’s favorite trick. Then again since my diagnosis and bladder cancer treatment I was diagnosed with a totally different kind of cancer that came out of nowhere so we never know.
This was just my experience and yours may be very different .
Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
I just completed my 2nd TURBT with blue light cystoscopy. This procedure verified my T1, HD, staging. Moreover, my MRI showed no sign of cancer tumors at other locations in my body.
My wife and I felt relieved at this revelation and are very thankful.
Our urologist/surgeon informed me that I should consider BCG treatments at this point, but warned me there is a small chance the BCG treatment may fail and that the cancer may become muscle invasive. Please note... this is highly unlikely, but possible. The success rate for BCG is about 80% with 20% reoccurrence and 5% of the 20% as progression. (The 5% means the cancer comes back worse, i.e. Muscle invasive)
Moreover, our urologist told us a R/C would have a success rate of 90% with no chance of reoccurrence or progression.
After telling my wife and me this, our urologist wanted us to decide which course of action we wanted to do --- BCG treatment or R\C.
We are struggling with these two alternatives. The BCG would allow me to keep my bladder or it could (there's a chance) make the whole cancer thing worse. The R/C would take my bladder, prostate, and surrounding lymph nodes, away, but would ensure that the cancer would be eradicated.
My wife and I understand that it's our decision, but we're wondering if anyone out there can help us decide by sharing ideas and/or opinions about this.