Stage 1 Bladder Cancer/Gemcitabine

Posted by sue225 @sue225, Jan 22 6:21pm

My 78 year old husband has been living with non-invasive bladder cancer for about 14 years. He had a recurrence in December, (had TURB surgery)and is now going to be treated with a new drug called "Gemcitabine" (by infusion via urethra). In the past he has been treated with BCG following TURB procedure, but had a bad reaction to the BCG five years ago. On one other occasion, mitomycin was given. Wanting to hear from others who have been treated with gemcitabine and if the treatment worked . The urologists in Canada have just started using this drug for Stage 1 bladder cancer. Thanks.

Hi Sue, I have just completed a Gemcitabine treatment comprising 6 infusion via the Urethra, This makes 36 infusions over an 18 month period made up of 18 BCG infusions, 12 mitomycin and 6 gemcitabine. I am scheduled for another TURB at the end of February, this will be my fourth TURB. They told me I had non-invasive papillary cancer and when I thought they had finally got on top of it along came carcinoma in situ which can quickly become invasive. My Urologist want to remove the bladder as he believes that if it gets out then there isn't anything they can do for me. I elected to try Gemcitabine which was recommended by my Oncologist/Haematologist. My research indicated that it can be more successful than Mitomycin and delivered via the urethra it has a 98% absorption rate in the bladder and a 75% success rate. BCG is only 70% and it is usually their first preference.
Prior to gemcitabine I had never experienced any problems with the infusions but gemcitabine was a challenge. I think my problems were brought on by the TURB as it was administered only 10 days before my first infusion and I was still passing blood. Apparently the benefits of gemcitabine can be administered in 90 minutes but the nursing staff said the longer the better so they go for 2 hrs. In the first treatment I lasted only 20 minutes. this improved over the course of the treatment and last week I made 2 hrs.
I also have had my prostate removed but the cancer has returned and on top of this I have leukaemia so my poor system is flat out fighting battles on a number of fronts and as a result the immune system is compromised which makes it difficult to get good outcomes from all the treatment but we Aussies are tough and these challenges are just something that must be dealt with and the cancer doesn't realise yet that it picked a fight with the wrong guy.
This doesn't provide you with the information you are after but I can tell you more in a few weeks. All the best to your husband,

REPLY
@plugger

Hi Sue, I have just completed a Gemcitabine treatment comprising 6 infusion via the Urethra, This makes 36 infusions over an 18 month period made up of 18 BCG infusions, 12 mitomycin and 6 gemcitabine. I am scheduled for another TURB at the end of February, this will be my fourth TURB. They told me I had non-invasive papillary cancer and when I thought they had finally got on top of it along came carcinoma in situ which can quickly become invasive. My Urologist want to remove the bladder as he believes that if it gets out then there isn't anything they can do for me. I elected to try Gemcitabine which was recommended by my Oncologist/Haematologist. My research indicated that it can be more successful than Mitomycin and delivered via the urethra it has a 98% absorption rate in the bladder and a 75% success rate. BCG is only 70% and it is usually their first preference.
Prior to gemcitabine I had never experienced any problems with the infusions but gemcitabine was a challenge. I think my problems were brought on by the TURB as it was administered only 10 days before my first infusion and I was still passing blood. Apparently the benefits of gemcitabine can be administered in 90 minutes but the nursing staff said the longer the better so they go for 2 hrs. In the first treatment I lasted only 20 minutes. this improved over the course of the treatment and last week I made 2 hrs.
I also have had my prostate removed but the cancer has returned and on top of this I have leukaemia so my poor system is flat out fighting battles on a number of fronts and as a result the immune system is compromised which makes it difficult to get good outcomes from all the treatment but we Aussies are tough and these challenges are just something that must be dealt with and the cancer doesn't realise yet that it picked a fight with the wrong guy.
This doesn't provide you with the information you are after but I can tell you more in a few weeks. All the best to your husband,

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@plugger thankyou so much for responding and sharing your story. You really have been through a lot. I hope the treatment gives you the best results.
Fourteen years ago, one oncologist told my husband to remove the bladder and the prostate. Went with oncologist number two. Radiation treatments were successful for the prostate. PSA very low. The bladder has been an ongoing nuisance. We were told right from the beginning that this is a type of bladder cancer that recurs. 14 years and nine TURBS later, my husband starts the first gemcitabine treatment in early February.
I wish you well and keep us posted on how things go for you.

REPLY
@sue225

@plugger thankyou so much for responding and sharing your story. You really have been through a lot. I hope the treatment gives you the best results.
Fourteen years ago, one oncologist told my husband to remove the bladder and the prostate. Went with oncologist number two. Radiation treatments were successful for the prostate. PSA very low. The bladder has been an ongoing nuisance. We were told right from the beginning that this is a type of bladder cancer that recurs. 14 years and nine TURBS later, my husband starts the first gemcitabine treatment in early February.
I wish you well and keep us posted on how things go for you.

Jump to this post

I'm sure we will both come through this and move forward to live life to
it's fullest. Did your husband try any supplementary treatment, I have been
recommended by a naturopath who specialises in oncology to undertake
vitamin C infusions and oxygen treatment in a hyperbaric chamber that I am
still considering. TURBS are the pits, I normally request the urologist to
undertake a cystoscopy first and then if things warrant it to come back
later for a TURB. I will post at the end of Feb when I get the results from
the TURB.

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