Bladder cancer is one of the more common forms of malignancy, affecting millions of people around the world. Most of the time, treatment options are limited and risk of reoccurrence is particularly high.
Cancer can be very expensive to treat. Chemotherapy, radiation, possibly several subsequent operations, not to mention every other medication dealing with adverse effects, special diets – costs pile up quite quickly. This is where the new therapy comes in.
Gemcitabine is an “antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic” chemotherapy drug. It is administered through intravenously right in the affected area. The procedure only takes a couple of hours and patients can go home afterwards. Another advantage is the fact that is readily available.
One of the biggest problems with bladder cancer is the risk of reappearance. The abnormal cells developing the disease multiply at a high rate. This leads to tumor formation, and more often than not they spread to other areas of the body. Generally starting in the lining of the bladder, they induce symptoms including blood in the urine, pain, burning sensations, weight loss, weakness.
The gemcitabine treatment targets those fast dividing cells, in an attempt to pre-empt tumors and cancer spread. Results showed a significant response rate (up to 70%) and a substantial remission rate (up to 40%). Overall, the drug appears to be less toxic and handled better by patients.
As with most serious therapies, there are some side effects to be expected, though easily manageable and often predicted in time. These include: nausea, fatigue, fever, poor appetite.
This form of medication does notably well in advanced cases and for older patients, considerably improving outcomes.
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