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BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) Therapy

If you’re at high risk for your bladder cancer returning after surgery, we may recommend that you receive a type of immunotherapy called bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy. Given once a week for six weeks, this therapy is designed to trigger an inflammatory response in the bladder that prevents the tumor from growing.

BCG therapy was developed at MSK and works by stimulating the immune system.

To give you BCG therapy, our doctors deliver inactivated tuberculosis bacteria directly into the bladder through a catheter (a small tube) placed in the urethra (the duct through which urine is transported out of the body).

In some cases, early-stage bladder cancers do not respond to BCG therapy. If your bladder cancer returns, we may recommend you take other drugs, including certain chemotherapy drugs, through your urethra to lower this risk. We’ll likely want to examine you every few months after your therapy ends to make sure that your bladder remains healthy and tumor free.