Bladder cancer can be mild or aggressive, and it has several stages. Mine was aggressive, but not at the worst stage. Bladders have three layers of skin. Survival rates are highest when tumors are in the first (internal) layer. The worst is when they break through the third layer and metastasize.
My tumor was into, but not through, the second layer. To remove the tumor, my doctor would go into the bladder through the urethra with a combined light, scope and cutting instrument. He would remove the tumor, and hopefully get it all, while not going too deep and puncturing the entire bladder. He didn’t expect problems, but said sometimes they occur, and in the worst case, I could lose my bladder and have to permanently carry an external plastic bag.
I was admitted to the hospital, had the tumor removed, and left after a couple of days. Weekly, for the next few weeks, I had a local chemotherapy cocktail inserted into my bladder to prevent new tumors. Then, after three months, I returned to the doctor for a scope exam to see if the tumor had returned. It had, and I repeated the hospital procedure and local chemotherapy treatments.
For the next couple of years, I had scope exams every three months. They were clear, and I graduated to having exams every six months. After a couple of more years, my exams became annual, and will continue that way the rest of my life.
Time is of the essence in the treatment of cancer. From the time I walked into the doctor’s office with red urine until I had my first tumor removed was 10 days. I am alive today, only because I was lucky enough to have good health insurance, allowing the entire treatment process to happen expeditiously.