This month, people around the globe are paying extra attention to bladder cancer to increase awareness.
About 425,000 men and 125,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year . It is the 6th most common cancer in men and is most prevalent in Europe and Northern America.
Following initial treatment, the chances of bladder cancer recurrence are very high: up to 70% of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients experience tumour recurrence within 2 years’ time. For this reason, patients need to follow a surveillance regime of lifelong invasive procedures (cystoscopy): every 3 months after treatment, reducing in frequency over time if there are no recurrences.
With its intense monitoring schedule requiring lifelong cystoscopic evaluation, it is one of the most burdensome and costly cancer diagnoses a person can get .
Most bladder cancer patients will agree with the statement: “Once diagnosed with bladder cancer, you will always be a bladder cancer patient”.
An important part of raising awareness is also emphasising the risks and preventative actions to take.
Although some risk factors such as age and gender cannot be controlled, some lifestyle choices can change your risk of getting bladder cancer, for the better. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor, not only for bladder cancer but it is thought to cause half of all cancers. Besides smoking cessation, drinking plenty of water and a healthy diet might be able to reduce the chances of getting bladder cancer.
Keep in mind that it remains important to check in with your doctor regularly, and to be alert for any symptoms that may point to bladder cancer, such as blood in the urine. Early detection of bladder cancer is vital for a successful treatment.
How can you help increase bladder cancer awareness?
Share your story
Have you, or someone close to you, been affected by bladder cancer? Telling your story and sharing your experience can be a huge support for others going through the same situation.
Make use of social media channels to get in contact with other patients, share experiences and make sure to include the hashtags #bladdercancerawarenessmonth or #bladdercanceraware to help spread the word.
Get in touch
There are several patient advocacy groups you can join if you are looking for support or if you want to give back by fundraising or volunteering.
- Ferlay J, et al. 2018 Global cancer observatory: cancer today. Available from: https://gco.iarc.fr/today. Accessed May 2020.
- Mossanen M, et al. Curr Opin Urol 2014;24:487-9.