Stage 1 Bladder Cancer/Gemcitabine

Posted by sue225 @sue225, Jan 22, 2020

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.

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@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.

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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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Hi Sue. My husband, who is also 78 was diagnosed several months ago with Stage 1 aggressive non- muscle invasive bladder cancer & underwent 6 weeks of BCG (no side effects). The doc told him to come back in 3 months to have a biopsy to see if it has returned. He is scheduled for his biopsy the middle of January. Prayers & best of luck to you & your husband- I will let u know how his biopsy results when we get it

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@texascitylady

Hi Sue. My husband, who is also 78 was diagnosed several months ago with Stage 1 aggressive non- muscle invasive bladder cancer & underwent 6 weeks of BCG (no side effects). The doc told him to come back in 3 months to have a biopsy to see if it has returned. He is scheduled for his biopsy the middle of January. Prayers & best of luck to you & your husband- I will let u know how his biopsy results when we get it

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Thankyou for your kind words. Happy your husband had no trouble with his gemcitabine treatment. Hope his three month follow up visit's results are perfect.

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Had his check-up the middle of January & doc did not see any signs of re-growth so told him no need for a biopsy. Wants him to come back in 3 months for re-check. Praise God

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@texascitylady

Had his check-up the middle of January & doc did not see any signs of re-growth so told him no need for a biopsy. Wants him to come back in 3 months for re-check. Praise God

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Wonderful news! My husband just came home having had his 2nd treatment of BCG. Although he was unable to tolerate it in 2014, the urologist is giving it another shot. So far, not too bad.
Happy for you and 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,

Jump to this post

@plugger how are you doing? Thinking about you as my husband was unable to tolerate gemcitabine. Here we are a year later, two TURBS in 2020, (also carcinoma in situ, high grade). Giving BCG another try. Two treatments over. Hope the side effects stay minimal. (Bladder removal maybe if all else fails).
I hope 2021 is being kind to you.
Australia is doing a better job with this pandemic than we are here in Canada.

REPLY
@texascitylady

Hi Sue. My husband, who is also 78 was diagnosed several months ago with Stage 1 aggressive non- muscle invasive bladder cancer & underwent 6 weeks of BCG (no side effects). The doc told him to come back in 3 months to have a biopsy to see if it has returned. He is scheduled for his biopsy the middle of January. Prayers & best of luck to you & your husband- I will let u know how his biopsy results when we get it

Jump to this post

@texascitylady how is your husband doing? Thinking about you and @plugger as my husband is now at the start of BCG treatments (giving it a try one more time). I hope he can make it through the six treatments as he could not tolerate the gemcitabine (which apparently is not common according to his urologist) nor the BCG seven years ago. Dont want to think about the bladder removal option just yet.
If you feel like sharing, please let me know how your husband is. Hope you are keeping well.

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@sue225

@texascitylady how is your husband doing? Thinking about you and @plugger as my husband is now at the start of BCG treatments (giving it a try one more time). I hope he can make it through the six treatments as he could not tolerate the gemcitabine (which apparently is not common according to his urologist) nor the BCG seven years ago. Dont want to think about the bladder removal option just yet.
If you feel like sharing, please let me know how your husband is. Hope you are keeping well.

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Hi Sue. My husband went in for his 3 month checkup after having gone through 6 weeks of BCG treatments (which he very well tolerated) & the doctor could find no signs of cancer, so he said he did not need to do a biopsy. I hope your husband has great tolerance this time around & we will keep him in our prayers.

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@texascitylady

Hi Sue. My husband went in for his 3 month checkup after having gone through 6 weeks of BCG treatments (which he very well tolerated) & the doctor could find no signs of cancer, so he said he did not need to do a biopsy. I hope your husband has great tolerance this time around & we will keep him in our prayers.

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Thankyou so much @texascitylady. My husband appreciates your kind words and prayers💕

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@sue225

@plugger how are you doing? Thinking about you as my husband was unable to tolerate gemcitabine. Here we are a year later, two TURBS in 2020, (also carcinoma in situ, high grade). Giving BCG another try. Two treatments over. Hope the side effects stay minimal. (Bladder removal maybe if all else fails).
I hope 2021 is being kind to you.
Australia is doing a better job with this pandemic than we are here in Canada.

Jump to this post

We have very fond memories of our time spent in Canada about 10 yrs ago. I agree that here in OZ we have been extremely fortunate with our response to COVID. We have had very little person to person transmission and when it did happen the tracking system managed to identify all the potential exposures. Our biggest problem came from either people from OZ returning home or international visitors who were undetected when they entered the country.
I didn't get the results I was after at the end of Jan. The carcinoma in-situ has turned up in a different part of the bladder. and the urologist still wants to remove the bladder but I am off to see my oncologist with another round of Gemcitabine at the end of this month and will talk to him about what he would recommend. The prostate has now turned up in my bones and they have started me on hormonal treatment to stop it advancing any further. I will find out about progress with the leukaemia in a couple of weeks.
All this is just part of my life now. We live in a retirement village and there is always something on to keep us occupied.

Liked by sue225

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Yes, regarding Covid-19 containment, our government has been reactive not proactive. Although it is easier to control when your country is an island. Nevertheless, there have been issues here and the vaccine rollout gets a bit of a failing grade so far. Maybe it will turn around.
My husband has had carcinoma in situ reoccur a number of times over these fourteen years and yes early on one oncologist recommended removing the bladder and the prostate. My husband went for a second opinion and for the prostate went the radiation route and that worked out very well. And he chose to keep dealing with the bladder with surgeries (TURB) and trying BCG, mitomycin, gemcitabine. Things may get a little complicated now. We'll have to see how bcg goes.
I mention this because maybe like my husband, it may not be time to give up the bladder. Maybe the oncologist will have a different solution.
Life is bittersweet. I am not a religious person, but will hold you in my thoughts and wish the best for you.

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