Bladder Cancer Briefs February 15, 2023

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Kesha’s Story

Kesha did not fit a bladder cancer patient’s “typical” demographic. About nine out of 10 people with this cancer are over 55. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 73. Bladder cancer was known as an older White male disease, but Kesha was different. She is a 39-year-old Black woman.

Before her diagnosis, Kesha was experiencing what she and the doctor assumed were urinary tract infections. For six months, she was prescribed antibiotics that were not working. She thought the stress of work and school was making the antibiotics ineffective. She told BCAN, “I was pushing myself, and my body was exhausted.” Little did she know it was something more concerning.

Kesha Walker, bladder cancer patient
Kesha W,

One day, while at school, her career coach noticed she was not looking well and suggested she go home. Later that day, when going to the restroom, Kesha passed what she thought were kidney stones. Not thinking too much of it, she went about her day.

On December 13, 2019, Kesha started having unbearable abdominal pain and decided to go to the emergency room. When she arrived, they took her blood pressure, did an x-ray, and gave her morphine to help ease the pain. Eventually, the ER doctor returned and advised that they would like Kesha to stay in the hospital because there was a mass on her bladder pressing up against her urethra. They kept Kesha in the hospital, and on December 15th, she had surgery to receive a urethral stent and a Foley catheter.

When it was time for the Foley to be removed, the doctor informed her the mass was four by two centimeters and a grade T4. Kesha had no idea what that meant. She knew it was time to find a doctor to determine her next steps. January 2020, she finally met with Dr. Deville, who referred her to Dr. Jean Hoffman-Centsis at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC. Meeting Dr. Hoffman, in Kesha’s words, “was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

Kesha’s diagnosis was not easy, but with her family and friends by her side she was able to push through and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Get to know more about Kesha by reading her story.

Resources for Patients and Families

Not many people are aware of what bladder cancer is until they are diagnosed. Share the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer and help spread the word.