Dr. Nimira Alimohamed
Medical Oncologist, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, AB
Director of Medical Affairs, EMD Serono, Canada
Bladder cancer may be one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, but ongoing treatment advancements are offering a renewed sense of optimism.
In Canada, bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer with over 12,000 patients diagnosed annually.1 While it can affect both sexes, it’s the fourth most diagnosed cancer in men, making them particularly vulnerable.
For over 80 per cent of patients, the most likely indicator will be blood in the urine, yet symptoms can range from bladder spasms to back or groin pain.
Most patients are diagnosed with nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer, when the cancer has not yet grown into muscles surrounding the bladder. Sadly, one in four patients are diagnosed with muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Until recently, those diagnosed with advanced stages of bladder cancer were met with survival rates of as little as one year. Yet, new advancements in treatment options are providing optimism, having shown to extend life expectancy beyond two years.
A New Age of Treatment
“Bladder cancer can be aggressive; it’s important to have treatment options available to patients,” says Caroline Lemieux, Director of Medical Affairs for EMD Serono, Canada.
“Over the last decade, we’ve seen an increase in treatment options,” explains Dr. Nimira Alimohamed, Medical Oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. “Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, antibody drug conjugates and oral agents are all playing a role in incrementally improving outcomes for patients with advanced bladder cancer.”
Doctors, urologists, oncologists, and medical researchers continue to work towards a more optimistic future for patients, studying new treatments and combinations. Clinical trials are also paving the way for further improvements at earlier stages of the disease.
By working alongside clinical staff, patients and caregivers can navigate their diagnosis and better understand the best treatment options available. Organizations like Bladder Cancer Canada provide access to support, resources, and tools to help make each cancer journey a little easier.
“We’ve come a long way, and while there’s still a long way to go, there’s a lot of hope and optimism for the future,” says Dr. Nimira.
To explore resources, support and better understand options available, patients and caregivers can visit bladdercancercanada.org.
This article was made possible with support from a research-based pharmaceutical company.