Community Marketing Manager, Bladder and Bowel Community
There are just over 10,000 cases of bladder cancer in the UK each year₁. It can be easily treated if caught early, yet we rarely talk about this type of cancer and its symptoms.
David, 75, a retired Bomb Disposal Operator from Clevedon was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October 2020. He knows only too well how important it is to get those early symptoms checked after he initially dismissed blood in his urine as a strain.
“I had one occurrence of blood in my urine after a day of lifting heavy slabs in September, so I dismissed it. Two weeks later, there was blood in my urine repeatedly, so I sent off a urine sample to my GP. I was referred to the urology one-stop clinic and got my diagnosis the very same day.
“I initially underwent the TURBT procedure (transurethral bladder resection), to remove two tumours, four were found and were graded as G3 aggressive. By December, three more tumours were found and after a difficult decision, in January I underwent surgery to remove my bladder, prostate, urethra, seminal vesicles, lymph nodes and form a urostomy.
“I now live with my NHS ‘bag for life’, I was told I wouldn’t see next Christmas without it. I’ve adjusted pretty well. Initially I had regular visits from the stoma nurses in hospital to teach me how to change my bag and general advice.
If I could offer any advice, it would be to recognise that blood in the urine should be an alert straight away. Don’t ignore or make excuses for symptoms.
Support has been a big part of recovery
“I’ve been married for 54 years, myself and my wife support each other through everything, and we treated this as one of life’s hurdles. I also have two grown up daughters who I’m very close to. Support groups such as my charity Clevedon Men’s Shed and other social groups such as the Facebook Bladder and Bowel Community Support Group have been a good place for me to talk. It helps that I’m generally a positive person and not much phases me.”
“If I could offer any advice, it would be to recognise that blood in the urine should be an alert straight away. Don’t ignore or make excuses for symptoms. If you do end up going through it, then think positive, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Write down any questions you have for doctors and take elasticated trousers into hospital, you’ll thank me for it!”
Accessing advice and support
Stoma nurses play a vital role in the recovery and management of stoma care following surgery for bladder cancer, which is why the Bladder and Bowel Home Delivery Service employs a team of stoma nurses to help those who have any ongoing issues or questions following their surgery.
Facts about Bladder Cancer
- There are just over 10,000 cases of bladder cancer in the UK each year (2015 – 2017)1
- 16th most common cancer in women (2017)1
- 8th most common cancer in men (2017)1
- Mainly affects people over the age of 75 (2015 – 2017)1
- Nearly half of bladder cancer cases are preventable (2015)1
1 Source: Cancer Research UK https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/bladder-cancer#heading-Zero, accessed August 2021