How often chemo treatments are given?

They found a 1.1cm tumor in my ureter and few spots
of smaller tumor. SO my left Kidney has to go. They can't assess the stage unless they open up. SO the course of action is chemo in case I need it. Since they can't do chemo with one kidney.
The chemo I am about to receive is the same/similar to those given for invasive bladder cancer.
I heard the treatment is based on 21 days cycle where as you get two injections the first week and rest for two weeks. and repeat for 4 months. Am I correct?
I know about the side effect how it affect some more than others.
For those who had BCG and the likes and chemo how do you compare the two.

If you had to stay 8 hours on the dentist chair being worked on without novocaine would you prefer a chemo day instead? or a BCG day?
I am trying to see how much personal sensitivity play a role in chemo.
My sister for example said that her chemo was hard but not as hard as going to the dentist for a root canal
What is your experience?

Be well


Report post

17 replies. Join the discussion

I have only had BCG so I can't give you any comparison but I would like to give you a hug. You are such a strong guy. I know you'll kick a$$.

Report post

What is the treatment? Matt had Cisplatin? Gemcitabine. Both one week, Gem next week, then a week off and so for 4 cycles. The double was about 6 hours, but they did not 'piggy back' them so it might be less elsewhere. The gem was only about 3 hours total after blood work etc.

Can't really tell you how Matt felt about the Chemo, I just don't think he wants to think about it. For us the worst part was the place, the room etc, the dumb noise of that infusion machine. At first we were happy with everybody there(we did have one favorite nurse) byt toward the end we got really tired of listening to them chatting and could not wait to get out!!! Sounds mean but not intended to be, just not fun.

Our thoughts are with you and you will win this fight. Take care, Teri@Matt

Report post

My situation is different, as I have a full week of chemo and then two weeks off, but as it happens, I had a root canal just before the chemo started! Gives me a fresh comparison. I'd frankly rather be in chemo than in the endodontists chair... but I'd rather have the aftereffects of the root canal than of the chemo. The process of receiving the chemo isn't that bad, it's the fatigue I have the worst time with.

Not sure if this is very helpful - but good luck!


Report post

I have had neither, but my mother went through chemo. There are various side effects depending on the type of chemo being used. Some have very little and others more.
A strong immune system, plenty of exercise and diet are said to make a difference in how people react as well.
You look and sound pretty strong to me!!!

Know you are in my thoughts and prayers no matter what you decide.

Report post


The only experience I have is what others have said and it seems to be highly variable. I hope yours is a breeze and totally effective. By the way was their any discussion of doing this through the scope with an attempt to save the kidney? There have been a number of papers on treating upper tract bc this way in appropriate cases, but I don't know the recurrence rates and don't know if long term data are available to evaluate all advantages and disadvantages. I don't seem to have saved the most recent one which was pretty positive on this approach. Whatever you and your team decide, I am sure that the outcome will be good given your strong will and positive outlook.


Report post

I agree with ladymoonlite. It's the after affects of chemo that I hated. It is important to know what they are using, also. They could use MVAC or Gemzar and Cysplatin, etc.

Report post

Thank you all
What I was the most interested to know is the scheduling one week on two weeks off. This for 6 cycles which bring everything at about 4 months. Am I correct?
Is this the standard scheduling.
In other words I understand the side effects etc... good be bad. But during the two weeks rest period can one WORK? how doe s one feel during the rest period is what I would like to know (SO that I can plan work, visits etc....) SHould I cancel ALL MY Plan for 3/4 months or can I do little work on the rest period?
I feel the shock but am not that bad emotionally, not depressed that is just shocked
But it will get better soon.

Report post

Eric, our situations are pretty similiar except they found my "bladder cancer TCC" in the kidney and ureter in 2003. Of course I was told this is rare, no studies or information, nor clinicals as to what to do. My oncologist had a cancer committee meeting at local hospital and they all felt after removal of kidney and ureter I would be cancer free. ..and chemo was a risk because of one kidney. My oncologist and urologist and the 2nd opinion at the Cancer Treatment Center said I needed chemo and they came up with gemzar and cisplatin..I went every week for three months...and did so well she recommended three more months. Yes, I was nauseated even with anti-nausea medicine, weak, and had to have the injection for helping red cells...quarantined for one week because white cells were so low. But, I was able to work most days up to 4-6 hours. Very fatigued, but I wouldn't change a thing. I have been cancer free (one small reoccurence in bladder in 2005-Mity-Micin treatment) for 5 years. Hope this helps, and I will keep you in my prayers.

Report post

I've had cisplatin and gemzar in 2005 and again in 2008. Prefer the dentist. Chemo was 1st wk cis/gemzar (takes about 6-8 hrs), 2nd wk gemzar, third wk off. Then start over. I had it for 6 months each time. The chemo accumulates and the further you go, the worse you feel. I had nausea, weight/hair loss, nosebleeds, low blood counts can make you very tired. I am self-employed so I was lucky...would not have liked to have to "punch a clock". Drink alot of water to flush the toxins out...protects your kidneys.
Everyone is different 'tho. I hope yours goes smoothly.
Best of luck....steve

Report post

Sorry to hear about your upcoming chemo, but the drug combo you will be given does work in both reducing and killing bladder cancer lesions.
I went through 8 cycles ie. months of chemo. My lung lesions are now dead and no more malignancy. I am now on 2 more cycles of chemo to deal with a couple of areas of inflamation which showed up in my last scan. Nothing to lose sleep over per my Dr.
The first day of chemo in your cycle can be rough. With both Cysplatin and Gemzar along with hydration and anti nausea infusion, you will be in a chair for about 6 hrs or so. You may feel somewhat spongy due to all the fluid you will take in. Subsequent sessions are less as you'll be given less chemo.
You may or may not have nausea. You most likely will be given Emend the day of and two days after cysplatin to help with nausea. Other drugs can be prescribed to deal with this after effect.
It is really hard to describe how the body feels being full of chemo drugs. Each individual experiences something a little different, but you will feel strange & drugged up. Food may not taste good for a while. You wont lose your hair but it may thin. Body hair may disappear for a while and your skin may be prone to bruising easily.
Your ears may feel full and like you are under water. Your balance may be effected a bit as cysplatin does this to the body.
You may need a shot of nuelasta 24 hrs after your first chemo day to help the bones build marrow. This may cause flu like symptoms and muscle aches.
Chemo drugs take a toll on the entire body. Your blood chemistry needs to be checked weekly. Supplements may be needed to balance stuff out. Sometimes blood transfusions are needed if red blood count drops too low. I went through two of these.
How long you are on chemo of course depends on how you respond. Stay strong and never give up hope. You can make it through this challenge. We all will be dealing with our bladder cancer issues until the day we leave this planet. Something may or may not come up in the future.
Ask God for his help. He answered our prayers and will do the same for you......Rick


Report post

Eric, you have been given some good experienced advise, and more to follow I am sure. Know that I will have you in my thoughts and prayers for comfort, and success during these treatments. You have such a positive attitude, and calm spirit that I know you will get through this, and we will be here for support.
Wishing you the very best results !


Report post

Yeah matt worked. Chemo was on Fridays, he generally would not go back till Wednesday. The 2 week off period was better so he tried to work more, but the fatigue was awful. He was happy he did not lose all his hair, his diet changed a bit, never threw up but had the nausea.

His third round he had temp spiking and a minor infection at that time he was off for about 2 weeks and worked on making sure he watched his diet , vitamins, proteins, and all the other good stuff. We did temp twice daily. Good luck to you, Teri@Matt

Report post

P.S. Well said patagonia. T@M

Report post

mine is every 3 it was prior to my RC with MVAC.
currently my new chemo

day one 8 hrs...cisplatin, taxol, ifosomide,mesna.
day two 4 hrs...ifosomide,mesna
day 3.....4 hrs...ifosomide, mesna
day 4 .....nulasta shot

did 4 cycles prior to RC, new regiment is in cycle 6....

this one is harder than the MVAC....but after 3 or 4 days i feel basically down for a week. then 2 good weeks.......over and over.

never been sick, just miss my eyebrows!!!!

you'll be ok

Report post

Hi Eric,

I think the 2nd part of your question is very individual. Some folks feel good enough to work, except on the day of chemo and perhaps a day or so after. Others are more adversely affected and may not be able to work much for the whole time. Never done it, just what I have heard folks say.


Report post

oh yea....i forgot....lost all my hair everywhere with any chemo i have done.....
but you get used to my dr. says.....that means its working

Report post

Nov. 2008 i was diagnosed with mestatic urethral adenocarcinoma(very rare),resulting in radical cystectomy,urosstomy placed. Surgery was feb. 2009, started 8 cycle gemzar treatment march 3,2009 and completed with last treatment in july I have something to ask maybe someone out there can tell me what to do when i was first diagnosed i had no insurance at all I applied for ssdi and social security disability. feb started recieveng ssdi while disability was being decided while on ssdi recieved medicade which provided means of surgery and chemo up until the last treatment. July 2009 it was decided that I would be eligible for social security disability and because of it being 911.00 monthly i would no longer be eligible for ssdi meaning i lost all medical I was able to get my last treatment which was first part of july with help from pharmacutical company, my last visit with my oncologist i was told that there was a spot on my left lower lung and liver which would need repeat ct in oct 2009 to keep an eye on this well so far i still wait on that ct and wonder but thats all i can do because when i went on disability medicade was taken away and you have to be on 2 years before medicare kicks in now here i am needing much needed followup not counting the cost of supplies any suggestions as to what a person is suppposed to do

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support BCAN

Help the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

Discussion topics

Walk for Bladder Cancer May 3rd

Walk for Bladder Cancer

Resources from BCAN

BCAN on Facebook

Like the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network on Facebook

Community leaders