Bladder Cancer Canada arms Canadians with the tools they need to navigate their cancer journey.
Rob Truscott’s cancer journey began with a routine medical visit when his doctor noticed an unusual reading. After going through a variety of tests, he was finally sent to Edmonton, Alta., where his urologist advised him to undergo emergency surgery, removing a large tumour from his bladder. A month later, he was diagnosed with high-grade Stage 1 bladder cancer. He was 43 at the time.
Having not experienced any symptoms prior to his annual doctor’s visit, the diagnosis came as a shock. “There was very little information about bladder cancer online,” says Rob. “As I looked at the stats, I realized just how common it was and how far I fell outside the normal demographic.”
Bladder cancer in Canada
Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Canada and the fourth most common among men. In Canada, 12,000 people will be diagnosed each year, and despite the median age of diagnosis at 72, younger Canadians between the ages of 20 to 40 are being diagnosed more frequently. Bladder cancer symptoms can often mimic common indicators of other conditions like kidney stones and can therefore go misdiagnosed, but early detection remains critical. Nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer has a 60 to 70 percent recurrence rate, meaning that for those — like Rob — who are in remission, there’s a constant need to monitor for signs of the cancer’s reappearance.
Founded in 2009, Bladder Cancer Canada (BCC) is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to driving bladder cancer awareness. The organization offers educational resources and provides free programs and supports aimed at helping bladder cancer patients and their families or caregivers feel less alone in their cancer journey. From initial diagnosis to coping with the emotions surrounding it, BCC arms Canadians with the knowledge and awareness to better understand bladder cancer and the tools and resources to get diagnosed sooner.
Arming patients with resources to help
Bladder Cancer Canada’s programs are rooted in shared experience. From a discussion forum moderated by expert volunteers to One2One Peer Support service that matches patients with a peer support volunteer best suited to them, BCC’s funding allows for it to offer these programs free of charge. The support BCC provides and the awareness it creates through annual fundraising events have played a critical role in changing the conversation around bladder cancer.
Eight years after his initial diagnosis, Rob knows that there’s a high risk of his cancer returning, but he remains dedicated to his fight and helping others in theirs. “I never want to treat my diagnosis like a big dark scary secret. When you start treating it like a secret, it becomes one,” says Rob.