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Intravesical Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, intravesical chemotherapy may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. This form of chemotherapy involves delivering liquid cancer-fighting medication directly to the bladder through a catheter. The most common drugs used in intravesical chemotherapy for bladder cancer are thiotepa and mitomycin.

When is intravesical chemotherapy used?

Intravesical chemotherapy can be a viable treatment option for patients with early-stage cancer that has not invaded the bladder wall. Unlike traditional chemotherapy that delivers drugs throughout the entire body, this treatment only attacks cancer cells on the lining of the bladder. When appropriate, intravesical chemotherapy is given following minimally invasive transurethral resection (TURBT) surgery to remove small tumors. Patients with late-stage bladder cancers typically rely on a combination of surgery to remove larger amounts of tissue, radiation therapy and traditional chemotherapy.

What are the potential side effects of intravesical chemotherapy?

Most cancer treatments have the potential for side effects, and intravesical chemotherapy is no exception. Still, this treatment is associated with far fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy because the medication is delivered directly into the bladder and not administered orally or intravenously, thereby leaving other parts of the body unaffected. The most common side effects of intravesical chemotherapy include irritation and a burning sensation in the bladder.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Urologic Oncology Program is led by a multispecialty team that offers the latest advances in bladder cancer treatment, including intravesical chemotherapy and immunotherapy. We are also a recognized leader in bladder cancer research and clinical trials, and have been distinguished as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Moffitt is the only cancer center based in Florida with this distinction. 

If you would like to consult with a Moffitt oncologist about your bladder cancer treatment options, contact us at 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. A referral is not required to visit Moffitt.