BCG Treatment for Bladder Cancer: Scientific Evidence and Recommendations
by Alex Shteynshlyuger MD
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist, a surgeon who specializes in all aspects of care for early, advanced and metastatic bladder cancer. He has treated hundreds of men and women with bladder cancer.
What is BCG?
BCG is attenuated tuberculosis-like bacteria. It provokes a strong immune response in the bladder which is thought to affect the cancer cells.
BCG has been shown to be extremely effective for treatment of non-invasive bladder cancer. It is the recommended treatment for all patients with frequently recurring and high-grade Ta. It is recommended for all patients with T1 stage non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and carcinoma in situ of the bladder. The benefits of BCG are numerous including decreased tumor recurrence and progression. The evidence points that BCG treatment likely also improves survival of patients with bladder cancer and decreases the need for major bladder surgery.
At New York Urology Specialists, we use the latest evidence-based medicine recommendations. Currently, the recommended protocol for BCG administration by the National Cancer Care Network guidelines is an induction course of BCG of 6 weeks followed by maintenance BCG for 3 years. If the tumor recurs, the recommendations are more complex and depend on a variety of factors including patient condition, disease grade and stage and patient ability to tolerate other treatments. Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger and many other specialists in the treatment of bladder cancer recommend additional ‘booster’ treatments with BCG beyond 3 years given that that are studies that suggest that the benefit can be maintained for many years with additional BCG doses.
At New York Urology Specialists, BCG treatment is recommended to all eligible patients who are willing to undergo it. Your doctor will explain the common risks and side effects of treatment. Read more about treatment for bladder cancer offered by New York Urology Specialists.
To discuss your treatment options for bladder cancer with Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger – a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist specializing in care for bladder cancer in NYC, contact us for an appointment.