What is intravesical Chemotherapy?

This is a method of giving chemotherapy drugs directly
into the bladder.

Why do I need the treatment?

You have recently been investigated for bladder problems and abnormal cells were found when the doctor looked into your bladder. These abnormal cells are commonly called warts, growths, tumours or superficial cancer
Intravesical chemotherapy is performed to try and prevent them from
coming back.  When put into your bladder, this treatment attacks cancerous
cells but does little damage to healthy tissue.

How will I have my treatment?

It is a six week course of treatment usually given on
a weekly basis. There will be a contact number if you are unable to attend. On arrival you will be seen and asked to produce a urine sample and to empty your bladder. It is recommended that you do not drink two hours prior to your appointment so your bladder does not fill up, or the drug becomes dilute while you are having your treatment. The nurse will test the urine for infection. If you do have an infection your treatment will be delayed for a week or two and you will be given antibiotics.  If you take diuretic medication (water tablets), you should take these first thing in the morning so that your bladder does not fill up whilst you are having the treatment.

The doctor will explain what will happen to you. A small catheter (tube) will then be passed into your bladder and the chemotherapy drug will be passed through the catheter directly into the bladder. This is not a painful procedure but there may be slight discomfort. The catheter is then removed.

You will be asked to try and hold the drug in your bladder for one hour. During that hour you can walk around, read a book or ask a friend or a member of your family to accompany you. After the hour you can pass urine but should be careful not to get it on your skin. Men will be asked to sit down to empty their bladder. You will be asked to clean yourself with wetwipes and wash you hands. Bleach solution will be given to you in a jug to pour down the toilet after you have passed urine. Do not flush the toilet. This should be left for 10 to 15 minutes and the nurse will flush it after you have gone home.
You should feel well enough to go home alone after the treatment.  When the treatment is finished, please drink plenty of water or fruit juice to flush the bladder to prevent irritation. Please have a good wash or bath at home as if the drug remains on your skin it may cause a rash.

Are there any side effects?

There are a few rare side effects to this treatment. These include cystitis like
symptoms e.g. frequency and some discomfort when passing urine. You may also see blood in the urine. If these symptoms last for more than 24 hours you should contact the Urology nurse specialist or your GP for advise.

Can I continue sexual activity?

You can continue to have sexual intercourse throughout your course of treatment but you should either abstain or use a condom for a period of 24 hours after each treatment.

What happens after I finish the course of treatment?

Once your six week treatment has finished you will have a flexible cystoscopy (small telescope passed into the bladder, using a local anaesthetic gel, via the urethra), to check that the treatment has been successful. This will be approximately two months after your treatment has been completed.