Bladder cancer is caused by an abnormal tissue growth, known as a tumour, which grows and spreads inside the bladder. The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in your urine.
For details on signs and symptoms, further information and to find help and support from other people who can understand what you are going through, follow the links at the bottom of this page.
If the cancerous cells are contained inside the lining of the bladder, doctors describe it as superficial or non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. This is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting for 7 out of 10 cases. When the cancerous cells have spread beyond the lining into the surrounding muscles of the bladder, it’s referred to as muscle invasive bladder cancer. This is less common and has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body (metastasising).
The outlook for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer is usually good. Although it can be a highly recurrent disease if not adequately treated, it is estimated that after the recommended treatment, between 80%-90% of people with this type of bladder cancer will live at least five years after being diagnosed, and many of them will live much longer than that.
HIVEC™ treatment requires the use of a small machine that is called The COMBAT BRS system. The system sits next to your treatment couch during your one-hour treatment and is connected to your catheter via a closed circuit of small tubes.
The COMBAT BRS system warms up the chemotherapy drug before it then enters your bladder through a special catheter. The chemotherapy drug is heated to a temperature of 43°C which is a similar temperature to that of a warm bath.
It is then gently re-circulated around your bladder and back through the system up to four times a minute. This is to make sure that the inside of your bladder is kept at a constant target temperature of 43°C and that the chemotherapy drug is well distributed so the whole area is treated.
When the COMBAT BRS system is switched on it will gently start to pump the warm chemotherapy drug around your bladder. The normal temperature inside you bladder is around 37°C and the HIVEC™ treatment will only increase the temperature by a few degrees to 43°C.
Therefore you may or may not noticea sensation of warmth during this time, not everyone does.
Those patients who do report a feeling of warmth say that it is not uncomfortable, perhaps feeling like a warm bath or a warm hot water bottle placed on the abdomen.
All of the heated chemotherapy drug stays entirely within your bladder and the tubes connected to the system. After one hour the system will gently drain the chemotherapy drug out of your bladder through your catheter and into a special bag to dispose of safely.
*Source: Cancer Research UK. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/bladder-cancer/incidence#heading-Five Date Visited 21/06/16
**Source: World Cancer Research Fund. http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/bladder-cancer-statistics Date Visited 21/06/16