Chemotherapy Side Effect- Hemorrhagic Cystitis and Bladder Cancer

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“Cyclophosphamide increases the risk of developing some kinds of cancers, which can occur years after taking this medication…Bladder cancer is the most common cancer related to cyclophosphamide”

One of my jobs as a cancer survivor and cancer coach is to educate cancer patients about the side effects of therapies. In the case of the chemotherapy drug cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), I have personal experience as I underwent two courses of cytoxan in September of ’95. In the case of cytoxan, a cancer patient can experience short term (nausea, hair loss), long-term (irritable bladder) and late stage (bladder cancer) side effects. Each cancer patient must weigh the risks and benefits of chemotherapy- cytoxan in this case, against the probable side effects.

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I understand that conventional oncology uses chemotherapy regimens that cause side effects. What bothers me is that there are evidence-based, non-toxic therapies that can reduce or even eliminate many of these side effects.

I have supplemented with Life Extension Super BioCurcumin since 2006 in an effort to remain cancer-free from a “treatment-related secondary cancer” like bladder cancer. Further, I supplement with taurine which has been shown to both prevent bladder damage as well as help bladder damage once it has occured. 

Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Are you considering undergoing toxic chemotherapy? If you would like to learn more about evidence-based non-toxic therapies shown to reduce or eliminate side effects please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Hemorrhagic cystitis

Hemorrhagic cystitis or Haemorrhagic cystitis is defined by lower urinary tract symptoms that include dysuria, hematuria, and hemorrhage. The disease can occur as a complication of cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide and radiation therapy…”

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

“Side effects

Common side effects, which may be worse with the pills, include nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually can be controlled with anti-nausea medications. Hair loss can occur, but hair usually will grow back when the medication is stopped. Other common side effects include skin rashes. Cyclophosphamide increases the risk of developing some kinds of infections, especially herpes zoster, often referred to as “shingles.” Unusual infections can occur with cyclophosphamide use.

Other important side effects include:

Blood cells: Cyclophosphamide can have significant effects on the blood cells, typically causing a reduced number of white blood cells, a key component of the body’s immune system. This can occur 8-12 days after starting treatment. Your doctor will check your blood counts around this time and make dose adjustments as needed.

Fertility problems: Cyclophosphamide can cause infertility in both men and women. This often is seen in older patients or those taking higher doses for long periods of time. Discuss this issue with your doctor before taking cyclophosphamide. Although women taking cyclophosphamide can stop having periods, they can still become pregnant so an effective form of birth control to prevent pregnancy should be used while taking this medication. Taking cyclophosphamide during pregnancy is very dangerous to an unborn child.

Bladder problems: Cyclophosphamide is broken down in the body into several other products. One byproduct known as acrolein can cause an irritation of the bladder, or “cystitis,” which may result in blood in the urine or scarring of the bladder. Patients taking oral cyclophosphamide should drink plenty of fluids each day to help prevent problems. Discuss with your doctor how much fluid you should consume daily while on cyclophosphamide. Patients receiving intravenous therapy are sometimes given a medication called mesna (Mesnex) to help prevent bladder problems.

Cancers: Cyclophosphamide increases the risk of developing some kinds of cancers, which can occur years after taking this medication. Long-term use and higher doses of cyclophosphamide may lead to a higher risk. Bladder cancer is the most common cancer related to cyclophosphamide, so your doctor will recommend periodic urine tests to screen for this. This needs to be continued for many years, even if your disease is in remission.

Points to remember

Because cyclophosphamide can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant or considering having a child should talk with their doctor before taking this drug. To avoid pregnancy, use an effective form of birth control throughout the course of this treatment. Also talk with your doctor about breast-feeding while on this medication.

Some of the side effects of cyclophosphamide may be serious. You should contact your doctor if you notice the following: blood in your urine, fevers and chills, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath or swelling of the feet and ankles.

Because cyclophosphamide use increases the risk of infection, some doctors suggest that patients take a concurrent antibiotic called trimethoprim sulfa (Bactrim), unless there is an allergy to sulfa medications. Be sure to talk with your doctor before receiving any vaccines and undergoing any surgeries while taking this medication. Caution also needs to be taken if any household members, particularly children, receive live vaccines while you take this medication.”


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