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Cancer and Urinary Tract Infections

I’ve been galloping along going to my Opdivo treatments every two weeks for my Lung Cancer AND going to my BCG treatments for my Bladder Cancer every week. But a recent week proved to be much more of a struggle.

Warning signs in the middle of the night

The treatment for Bladder Cancer is very irritating to your bladder. There are several known side effects and this past week, I’ve had the feeling each day the side effects were getting worse. So much so, that the night before my next treatment, I was waking up every 20 to 30 minutes with an extreme urgency to pee. I would get up – blindly walk into the bathroom – and maybe 3 drops! By the time my head hit my pillow, I think I was passed out that quickly, but would soon awaken to repeat this sequence of events. This went on alllllllll night. By the time I got to my Urologist office, I felt like a zombie.

Pausing treatment to recover from infection

Prior to each treatment, the nurse does a urine test. As I was describing to her how my side effects have continued to worsen over the past week, she determined I had a Urinary Tract Infection and a Kidney Infection.

I felt so stupid. Had I known or given my symptoms a second thought I would have realized this is not normal. Now I know!! Due to the infection, my BCG treatment was canceled and it looks like the next one will be canceled as well – they won’t do the treatment unless everything checks out okay in your urine sample. For those of you who have had urinary tract infections, you know that waiting for results of a culture can be very troublesome.

Save yourself the pain and call your doctor

So here I am, 48 hours later, in pain, still having these horrible issues and still waiting for the culture results to come in…….I don’t understand why urologists won’t give us a broad-based antibiotic to possibly begin lessening symptoms. I understand the culture is necessary to pinpoint the appropriate medication for the specific type of infection, but please, can we get some help those first few days.

Pain, urgency, constant urge to urinate, fever. These are just a few of the symptoms that come with a Urinary Tract Infection BUT from personal experience I can tell you – it is possible to get an infection with absolutely no symptoms. I slept for days – 5 to be exact. So put that in the back of your mind. Anything that is different from the norm, please call.

Finding ways to alleviate the pain

My personal attempts to lessen the pain while waiting for test results is a lot of Cranberry Juice and a hefty supply of AZO. AZO is an over the counter medication to help lessen the symptoms of your UTI. It does NOT cure it – it only helps until you can get to your physician.

One final note, AZO turns your urine bright orange and it can stain your toilet, so flush immediately. Don’t be alarmed. It is not blood but it is the medication.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • MotherT
    7 months ago

    Ouch! I’m SO sorry you are going through this Jennifer! I hope you have some relief by now. Bladder infections is how my nsclc was found. 6 months of constant UTIs and then a CT scan that just barely picked up on something in my lower lungs. I haven’t had any more UTIs and it has been 3 years now. Curious, right? AZO makes some great products that help! I take their Urinary Health Maintenance supplement nightly. It has vitamin C, cranberry concentrate, a prebiotic and d-mannose. D-mannose is the cranberry sugar that keeps bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Bladder infections are the worst! We sure don’t need them on top of everything else we deal with.

  • Alisa moderator
    7 months ago

    Looks like your bladder infection had a purpose, glad your nsclc was found when it was! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Wishing you all the best, Alisa

  • Alisa moderator
    7 months ago

    Jennifer, I am so sorry you are going through this! Sending well wishes your way, and will look for updates.

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