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Bladder Cancer - Treatment Path Forward for 2009

Posted Jan 10 2009 6:53am

Bladder Cancer is a dogged enemy. Chances of recurrence are extremely high. That's why radical surgery has the best survival statistics, albeit with severely compromised lifestyle (mostly not evident to the public). For Grade 3 disease, which is what I had, the stats show something like 80% chance of recurrence within five years. Only after that can one begin to breathe a bit easier, and annual inspections FOR LIFE guarantee that I will never be able to rest assured that it's ALL GONE.That fact is not so bothersome, because the name of the game in managing any serious long-term disease is to stay ahead of it - to postpone mortality from that cause until another (hopefully "natural") cause does the trick. If I can avoid recurrence for two years, the prognosis for five years is improved. So for breathing easy, there are six months done and eighteen more to go, then another 3 years before I can fully "relax."

Does this mean that I will be able, after 4.5 years of "all clear," to go back to my sugar-laden fried food and chemical preservative rich diet? I doubt it. For one thing, in addition to BCG and prayer, diet will be the single biggest contributor to avoiding recurrence. The diet is intended to stop "pushing the buttons" thatcould trigger cancer and instead eat things that show evidence of actual cancer fighting. So abandoning it seems risky and unproductive. And what of the much-hated exercise? I suppose that continued "all clear" signs will provide the positive motivation I need to continue. And, of course, there are other benefits, especially for the heart, which is something that I was already at risk for before all this cancer business started. So it continues - I went today. And I hated it.

What's the path ahead for 2009? We start the year with another cystoscopy (visual inspection) in less than three weeks on January 22. These medically non-invasive (albeit personally VERY invasive) procedures continue quarterly for the first two years. If clear, we follow that with three weekly BCG treatments, then wait until late April and inspect again.If all clear then, no BCG treatments - they space out quicker than the inspections. Next... 

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