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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Can BCG treatment for bladder cancer lead to loss of brain cells?

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Dr. Salah Saad Shoman

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1576 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 26 Jul 2018 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: My father was given BCG for bladder cancer, after the cancer was gone, my father lost most of his brain cells...why?

What could have been done to prevent this from happening?
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Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Very rare side effect

Detailed Answer:
Dear sir, I have gone through your question and I understand your concerns but it is very unlikely for BCG treatement of bladder cancer to cause such a serious side effect. It's side effects are usually well tolerated including body pain and burning sensation while urination. However a very rare, but potentially serious side effect of BCG is called systemic BCG reaction that can occur following exposure to BCG.. Symptoms of a systemic BCG reaction include unexplained high fever lasting 24-48 hours or more, chills, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness or shortness of breath. A systemic BCG reaction can cause pneumonitis (inflammation in the lungs), hepatitis (inflammation in the liver), prostatitis (inflammation in the prostate gland), epididmal-orchitis (inflammation in the testes), respiratory distress and other symptoms of sepsis that may affect brain functions as well.. unfourtanetly it can not be expected as it doesn't occur except very rarely.. I hope you find this helpful..
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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