It is that time of year again, the time when Bladder Cancer patients will try to flood the interwebs, your social media feeds, and even your email inbox.
BCAMMay is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.
My story speaks to the value of awareness - as I wasn't aware.
I was diagnosed in 2014 - 43 years old.
After being told I had Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer, I had to go home and google what that was. I wasn't symptomatic, my tumour was found chasing abnormal results from my annual flight medical. I didn't know Bladder Cancer existed. The flight surgeon said I was likely going to be a diabetic, and sent me for a urinary tract ultrasound after a few gallons of "pee in the bottle" tests ... the ultrasound found a tumour in my bladder.
That is when I discovered that between 8,000 to 9,000 people in Canada were diagnosed each year, and that the median age of diagnosis was 73.
Fast Forward 7 years to this year. I recently shared an article from Bladder Cancer Canada about a man in his 30s, who we lost to Bladder Cancer when his bladder cancer metastasized. That article is linked HERE.
Also 7 years later, 12,000 Canadians a year are being told that they have Bladder Cancer.
Some may ask - why is that? What caused the increase in cases?There are different schools of thought on that:
One is that more people are actually being impacted by the necessary toxics in sufficient quantity to trigger the cell mutation that is cancer.
Another is that it means awareness activities by Bladder Cancer Canada are working. More people are discovering bladder cancer, I hope it also means earlier, which should help reduce the mortality rate.
I will put out more things - like a vlog on YouTube later this month to just keep the awareness train rolling. The biggest thing people can do - is talk about it. That is the main reason I started this blog and a FB page, just to get the conversation going.
That is something I think needs to happen - changing the conversation so that it can be talked about more easily and openly.
If you want to know more about Bladder Cancer, check out resources in your location, and maybe sign up for the newsletters and other items - Here is the Bladder Cancer Canada newsletter It contains links and information for patients and caregivers.