Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer. In bladder cancer, chemotherapy is incorporated along or with surgery or radiation therapy or both and may require a stay in the hospital.
Bladder cancer that is contained within the inner linings of the bladder walls can be treated with intravesical chemotherapy. One or more liquid drugs are introduced into the bladder after the removal of the tumor via catheter, a thin, plastic tube The drugs are left undisturbed in the bladder for several hours and are then drained out while urination. The procedure is repeated for several weeks to eliminate all cancer cells.
The cancer that has spread deeply into the bladder, lymph nodes, and other surrounding tissues will require systemic or intravenous chemotherapy. Here the cancer-fighting drugs are injected into the bloodstream directly via a vein. By this method, the drugs reach each and every part of the body and ideally kill all the cancer cells present.
Chemotherapy has unpleasant side effects which depend on the type of drugs used and the type of chemotherapy involved. The severity of side effects varies from person to person. The common side effects of systemic chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, sores on the inside of the mouth or in the digestive tract etc. Lack of energy, fatigue, increased susceptibility to infection and easy bruising or bleeding is also normal. This is because of reduction in count of blood cells. The side effects are temporary and subside soon after the chemotherapy is over.