Possible Side Effects of Chemotherapy on the Bladder
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer in the United States. Occurring at any age, bladder cancer affects four times as many men as women and it is most common in people older than 65 years of age.
Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat with a high recurrence rate of 50 to 80 percent. Treatment options for bladder cancer include: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy; all have possible side effects.
Chemotherapy is a treatment in which drugs are used to destroy cancer cells.
Orally and intravenously are ways to administer chemotherapy drugs into the body; however in early bladder cancer patients, drugs may be infused into the bladder through the urethra (called intravesical chemotherapy).
Two chemotherapy drugs, cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, are associated with toxic side effects to the bladder leading to a condition called cystitis. Cystitis and its more severe form Hemorrhagic Cystitis are the two main types of bladder problems related to chemotherapy.
Cystitis, occurring in up to 10 percent of patients receiving chronic low dose cyclophosphamide, is detected as urinary burning or bleeding after several cycles of chemotherapy.
It is also an irritation of the lining of the bladder wall. Frequent voiding and vigorous hydration are two ways to prevent cystitis.
Hemorrhagic cystitis is the combination of bladder pain and irritable bladder systems prior to developing hematuria. Hematuria is blood in the urine.
Patients having developed hemorrhagic cystitis are faced with a dangerous condition that can lead to significant bleeding or life-threatening infection.
Symptoms of Hemorrhagic cystitis includes hematuria, bladder infection, urinary frequency and more.