Bacillus Calmette-Guerin bladder treatment is a medication used to treat bladder cancer. Studies suggest that BCG delays cancer growth and recurrence, and may extend patients' lives, according to WebMD.
The medication is administered through a urinary catheter into the bladder. BCG is most commonly used after transurethral resection surgery for non-invasive bladder cancer, WebMD reports. It may be used for early-stage bladder cancer, or sometimes after TUR in patients who cannot have a cystectomy, although BCG's effectiveness is limited in those cases.
To prepare for the treatment, patients should limit their fluid intake so they can hold the medication in their bladder, WebMD advises. Patients are directed not to urinate for at least two hours and to change positions every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure the medication covers the entire bladder. Usually BCG is given weekly for six weeks, then monthly for six to 12 months, followed by treatments every three to six months over a two-year period.
BCG has side effects, like all medications, WebMD says. They include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, low-grade temperature and skin rash. Some patients also experience fatigue, joint pain, burning or pain while urinating, and needing to urinate more frequently than normal.