• Understanding bladder cancer and your treatment
  • 1.What is bladder cancer?
  • 2.Diagnosing and treating non-muscle invasive(superficial) bladder cancer
  • 3.Your Mitomycin-C treatment
  • 4.What are the side effects?
  • 5.What else should I know?
  • 6.What happens next?
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  3. 3.Your Mitomycin-C treatment

3 Your Mitomycin-C treatment

This is the case example, but Mitomycin-C treatments vary slightly country by country. Please ask your doctor the details of your treatment.

Single Dose

You’ll probably receive your dose of Mitomycin-C when you’re back on the ward, after your operation, though it may be given while you are still asleep in the operating theatre or recovery area; it depends on your local hospital policy.

The drug will be administered by a specially trained nurse who will slowly pass the purple-blue Mitomycin-C liquid through your catheter and directly into your bladder, where it will stay for up to one hour. If during this time you experience any pain or discomfort or are worried then you should let a member of staff know straight away.

After, a nurse will drain the drug from your bladder into a drainage bag.
Your catheter will usually stay in place until the following day.

Side effects are uncommon after a single dose of intravesical chemotherapy, but some patients may notice some mild pain, cystitis-like symptoms or the need to urinate more frequently after the catheter has been removed. Please see the next step 'What are the side effects?' for more information and if you’re worried about any of these symptoms then please let your nurse or doctor know.

Following your operation, you might pass some blood in your urine after your catheter has been removed and you may be asked to drink more fluids to help dilute your urine. They may also ask you to avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea or cola as they may make you urinate more frequently.

Additional doses of Mitomycin-C

Your doctor may think that you need additional Mitomycin-C treatments to treat your bladder cancer. If this is the case, then an appointment will be made for you to come to the outpatient department to start a course of treatment, about two to three weeks after your operation.

You’ll probably receive additional doses once-weekly over a few weeks, although your doctor may decide to treat you once-a-month across several months.

Again, it’s important to remember that the drug will be given directly into your bladder and is unlikely to cause symptoms of hair loss, nausea or sickness associated with other chemotherapy treatments.

Before Your Appointment

You may be asked not to drink any fluids for two to four hours before treatment; this will reduce the amount of urine you produce and make you more comfortable while holding the drug in your bladder for up to an hour.

  • If you take diuretic medicines (water tablets) please speak to the urology nurse specialist who will be able to advise when to take them
  • Remember to bring your urine sample with you if you’ve been asked; alternatively you may be asked to provide one at the hospital
  • If you feel unwell or are unable to make your appointment then please let your hospital know as soon as possible

At The Clinic

When you arrive at the clinic, you might have your urine sample tested to make sure that you don’t have a urinary tract infection. If you do, your Mitomycin-C treatment may be postponed as it can make complications more likely.

Before the first treatment, you might be asked about any previous illnesses, drug allergies, operations or medications that you’re taking so it’s important to have this information available for the urology nurse specialist. You may then need to sign a consent form for the treatment.

You might be asked to empty your bladder before treatment. After making yourself comfortable on an examination couch, the genital area will be cleaned with some antiseptic solution and an anaesthetic gel or lubricating jelly may be applied into your urethra before a small catheter is inserted into your bladder via your urethra.

Once in place, the purple-blue liquid will be slowly passed down the catheter into your bladder. At this point, for the majority of patients, the catheter will be removed. You will then be asked to hold the liquid in your bladder for up to one hour.

After Treatment

During the first week of your treatment you might be asked to remain in the hospital for the hour so that the nurse can monitor you. However in future weeks, providing your travelling time does not exceed one hour, you may be allowed to go home.

After one hour you’ll be asked to empty your bladder. As your urine will contain the chemotherapy drug you should sit down when passing urine for the first time after treatment as this reduces the risk of spillage onto your skin or outside the toilet.

It’s also recommended that you wash your hands and around the genital area thoroughly with soap and water. This avoids any skin irritation that may be caused by any leftover drug in your urine.

After the first visit to the toilet following treatment, you should also add two cups of bleach to the bowl, leave for 15 minutes and then flush. You can then continue to use the toilet in the normal way.

You may also be encouraged to increase your fluid intake for the first 24 hours following treatment and asked to avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and cola as they can make you urinate more frequently.

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