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Bladder Chemotherapy Instillation

What is Bladder Chemotherapy Instillation?
Will my medical insurance cover this procedure?
What are the preparations for Bladder Chemotherapy Instillation?
Is this procedure painful and how long will it take?
Are there any side effects to the Chemotherapy via Bladder Instillation?
Are there any other instructions I should follow?


What is Bladder Chemotherapy Instillations?

Bladder Chemotherapy Instillations, or intravesical (en-trah-VEH-si-kal) chemotherapy, are given to people who have superficial bladder cancer by filling the bladder with medication to fight the cancer cells. Although superficial bladder cancers are an early form of cancer, many will recur after initial removal. However, by using treatment which puts medication directly in contact with the bladder wall, it may be possible to prevent recurrence or lengthen the time until recurrence.


Will my medical insurance cover this procedure?

In most cases, your insurance will cover the cost of the procedure and medicine, but you should check with your insurance company if you have any questions.

What are the preparations for Bladder Chemotherapy Instillation?

The instillation is done as an outpatient procedure. The day of your procedure you should eat normally and take your usual medications, but limit the liquid you drink to two cups. A urinalysis is needed before each treatment, so obtain a urine specimen when you check into the clinic. Blood tests are sometimes needed before treatment; your doctor or nurse will tell you if you need these.


Is this procedure painful and how long will it take?

Receiving intravesical chemotherapy is a brief procedure that is usually painless. A catheter, a small, flexible tube, will be put into your bladder through your urethra. The medicine will be instilled over 2 to 3 minutes and the catheter removed. Note the time on your watch. You are then free to leave the clinic. You should hold the medicine in your bladder however long your nurse or doctor tells you to, but no longer - usually 1 or 2 hours. When you urinate the medication after the required amount of time, be careful not to have the medication come in contact with your skin and always wash your hands and genitals well, using soap and lots of water.

Are there any side effects to the Chemotherapy via Bladder Instillation?

While it is important to know the side effects which may occur, remember these side effects are listed only for your information. You will probably not have all these effects. 

When administered as a bladder instillation, chemotherapy can cause inflammation of the bladder which could cause you to have pain on urination, frequency and urgency of urination, and sometimes a small amount of blood in the urine. These effects usually resolve after a day or two. Bladder chemotherapy instillation's do NOT cause side effects such as hair loss, nausea, or vomiting sometimes associated with other methods of receiving chemotherapy.

Are there any other instructions I should follow?

Most people do take it easy the day of treatment, but return to normal activities shortly thereafter. Be sure to follow any other instructions given and take all medications as prescribed.

If problems do occur or for more information on bladder chemotherapy instillation's, call the Urology Clinic at (734) 936-7030, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.