How effective is chemotherapy in treating bladder cancer?

Karim Chamie, MD
Urology
Part of the reason people with bladder cancer don’t receive chemotherapy is that it may not be all that effective for some kinds of cancers. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict who’s going to respond to chemotherapy and who isn’t. Doctors give people chemotherapy and hope that it shrinks the tumors. However, people are exposed to significant side effects such as hair loss, numbness in fingers, and a loss of kidney function. This can outweigh the benefits if the cancer, especially if it is localized to the bladder. Further, if the cancer has spread to the other organs, it likely will not respond to chemotherapy.

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