Last week I was in the hospital for outpatient treatment of my bladder tumors. The March look-around found new polyps and other growths that required biopsy. So off to Leigh Sentara to do that surveillance and treatment. The pathology results are back indicating that my disease is becoming more active although it is still confined to the inner skin.
Cancer treatment is condition based. each round begins with inspections and tests to determine if the disease is increasing or changing in character. Surgical treatment follows up to trim off the bad bits and send them off to the pathologist to figure out which cells have gone wrong and to confirm a disease free margin. It is typical of bladder cancer to present as polyps for the malignancy to slowly evolve as I’m experiencing. Since the lining only is involved, longevity prospects remain good.
Its a Family Affair
At latest count, of 13 maternal aunts and uncles (common sire, two different spouses), 1 aunt and 3 uncles are known bladder cancer patients. Dodgy Watson genes! Two of the four lived to a ripe old age in the mid-eighties. Younger 2 are still alive.
The folks at Urology of Virginia in Virginia Beach have been caring for me. My surgeon has been checking me every three months and as new growth appears, he is resectioning the tumor using endoscopic tools to snip off the protruding bits and clean up the lining down to clear margin. The bits go off to pathology to confirm the margin and identify which cells have gone into cancerous reproduction.
This treatment was the first we followed up with in-bladder chemotherapy using mytomicin, a fermentation chemical used in cancer treatment including bladder lining tumors.
The pathology results returned indicate that the cancer is increasing in activity and that additional cell types are involved. We meet for post treatment exam next week. The pathology results indicate that a course of BCG instillation chemotherapy is in order. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a cystoscope to fill the bladder with BCG solution that is left in for a period. The solution is drained. The BCG will provoke an immune response in the bladder lining that hopefully will cause the immune system to remove the tumorous cells. This protocol has pretty good odds of success but I’m in six weeks of weekly treatments and recovery with the usual urinary tract symptoms post treatment.