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My Bladder Cancer Stories

My Bladder Cancer Stories

This year, more than 80,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer and even more, are indirectly impacted by the disease.

BCAN’s My Bladder Cancer Story Campaign highlights the stories of those impacted by bladder cancer in an effort to raise awareness as we work towards a cure.

“It is our hope that the My Bladder Cancer Story campaign will be an avenue for those affected by bladder cancer to share their stories to be a voice for those who, for far too long, have felt alone in this fight against this disease.”

– Andrea Maddox-Smith, BCAN CEO

Brenda and Jerry

Tell us about your husband’s journey. My husband, Jerry, was asymptomatic. One day, his urine looked like pure blood. And was bright red. At the time, we thought it might be a bad kidney infection. The doctors ran tests, a CT scan. They told him he had a spot on

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Sharing Stories to Advance Research – Lee’s Story

Lee’s Story:   I went to my primary care physician after I’d come back from an extensive Caribbean vacation. I put off whatever was going on with this little bit of blood I was seeing, until I got back from that special trip. While I was on vacation, the urgency and frequency

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Sharing Stories to Advance Research – Camille’s Story

Camille’s Story:   I came to this meeting to start taking care of myself.  I realized that now that I’ve pushed all the way through the past three and a half years with bladder cancer, I am now at a point where I can help other people.   I was diagnosed in

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Ben Manages an Unexpected Diagnosis

It all started in December of 2017. I was at a wedding and I urinated some blood. It was not a lot, but it had me worried. My wife is a nurse practitioner, so anything medical I go to her. I told her, “I literally just urinated blood. What should

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Megan is Following Her Dream

It was in 2016, I was 25 and in Physician Assistant (PA) School. I believe it started around the summertime, and I just kept feeling like I was having the classic urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms. But I had no hematuria and I actually worked for a gynecologist at the

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Toni Stefani- A Firefighter’s Fight

Retired firefighter Captain Tony Stefani started with the San Francisco Fire Department in 1974. The 28-year veteran retired as the Captain of Rescue 1 in 2003. After being diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma in 2001, he founded the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation and now serves as its President.

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Darrell Is Proactive And Prepared

I am a busy guy: a telecom business owner and house flipper. Being busy, oftentimes we neglect to take of ourselves. Ask a single mom or a surgeon and they will likely tell you the same story! However, I had two episodes of bleeding when urinating about three months apart

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Surfing with Ron

I was diagnosed on August 31, 2010. I had biopsy surgery on September 17, 2010 and a cancerous tumor was discovered and removed. On October 29, 2010 (five days after my 61st birthday), I had a radical cystectomy and neobladder surgery. I was able to surf again three months later,

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Father and Daughter are Unlikely BCG Buddies

While older men are the most likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, imagine our surprise when BCAN met Mike Bartlett and his daughter Kristin Hoisington at the 2018 Houston Walk to End Bladder Cancer. Fifty-seven-year-old Mike was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2016, after his primary care physician sent him to a urologist to determine the cause of the

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Waltzing with Anne Through Her Bladder Cancer Journey

“Anne is an incredible example of a patient who refused to be paralyzed by her diagnosis of cancer. She had an incredibly positive attitude from the beginning. She is a very active and motivated person. That didn’t change just because she was diagnosed with cancer,” noted Dr. Noah Hahn, Deputy

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Dancing Her Way through Bladder Cancer – Anne Doesn’t Miss a Beat

New Hampshire native, Anne Theriault now lives in Maryland. Anne spent many years in non-traditional careers with the US Army and in the Bureau of Prisons. She deployed four times to combat zones. Anne began taking up ballroom dancing after a challenging combat tour in Iraq. “I just did it

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Ralph Makes a Decision

Like many bladder cancer patients, I was shocked when a urologist gave me the diagnosis. Cancer wasn’t for me; it was for other people. And bladder cancer? I didn’t know anything about it, but some quick research confirmed I had no obvious risk factors. All moot, though. My wife Eva

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Curtis is Crushing Bladder Cancer

My symptoms started with me urinating more frequently than usual and feeling tired from time to time; however, the symptoms would come and go.  In February 2015, I had a TURP which showed Papillary urothelial carcinoma, low grade with foci suspicious for subepithelial invasion. A rare fragment of muscle, with

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Jill Fights for a Normal Life

Bladder cancer can be a sneaky disease. Sometimes you have very few symptoms until things hit a critical mass.  For me, that happened in the form of a suspected urinary tract infection (UTI). I’ve had UTI’s my whole adult life, so the latest one in summer of 2012 didn’t seem

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Matthew’s Bladder Cancer Journey

2016 was the scariest year of my life. I urinated blood around Christmas in 2015, and a CAT scan in February 2016 found a tumor.  I had a cystectomy on April 1 and the results were determined to be an aggressive cancer. Next, was another cystectomy which saved me from

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Brenda’s Road to Cancer Freedom

In December 2001, my life changed when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  In the summer of 2001, I noticed urinary changes that I attributed to turning 48 years old.  Continency and frequency became issues and my urine turned cloudy with a tinge of darkish red from time to time. 

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Clinical trial patients…are never forgotten.

BCAN asked Dr. Andrea Apolo, Chief of the Bladder Cancer Section of the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch of the National Cancer Institute, what researchers learn from bladder cancer patients who do not survive in a clinical trial. This is what she shared with us: Mr. Z. was enthusiastic about participating in the clinical

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Marilu Henner Encourages Tough Talks on Bladder Cancer

For Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, BCAN and actress Marilu Henner have partnered with Genentech, a member of the Roche group, to share her personal story and help people navigate challenging – but necessary – conversations about bladder cancer. Marilu knows firsthand the importance of these discussions. In 2003, she and

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Renata Turns to Writing

We thought my husband Ahmad’s bladder cancer was well under control after the original diagnosis of low grade Stage Ta, in 2011. He had several TURBTs, a partial cystectomy, and cystoscopies every three months. Dealing with the Stage Ta diagnosis, was relatively easy. We feared the fact that it was cancer

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Frank – Two Cancers Don’t Stop Me

I am a non-smoking prostate cancer survivor who was treated with radiation and hormones. In 2015, I passed some blood tinged urine. This sent me to my urologist who did a urineanalysis and cystoscopy along with a CT urogram.  It was determined that I had a Ta tumor which was

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Marge opens a new door…

My husband Bill was diagnosed with bladder cancer in May 2010, just before the Memorial Day holiday. He was experiencing blood in his urine and immediately reached out to his doctor in New York City. We didn’t have a thought that it could be something serious. Believing that it was

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Rick’s Neobladder Story

Like others, I had symptoms without a bladder cancer diagnosis for some time – urgency and frequency for eighteen months.  I had discussed both with my physician after about nine months. He said that I was getting old (I was only 48!) and my father had prostate cancer.  Knowing that

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Mike’s New Normal Story

In 2016, at age 58, I was noticing changes:  I needed to urinate more frequently, my stream wasn’t as strong and I was waking up several times each night. It seemed like the natural aging progression.  When small ribbons of blood appeared in my urine, I contacted my physician.  The urinalysis

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Jim Zito – “Never give up hope!”

Lynn Zito shared her reflections on her husband Jim’s experience with bladder cancer. I don’t think people take bladder cancer seriously enough. Many think bladder cancer is just a disease of older people. They can have their bladder removed, and they will have a diversion and then be just fine

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Jeff’s Story

Only 30 at the time of his diagnosis, Jeff is not your typical bladder cancer patient. Now four years and three children after his diagnosis, Jeff views his experience as an opportunity to raise awareness as well as funds to support research to end bladder cancer. After noticing blood in

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Bob’s Immunotherapy Story

On March 17th, St Patrick’s day 2014, my wife and I were sitting at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in an examination room waiting for my new Oncologist, Dr. Jonathan Rosenberg to give us the news. Upon his arrival I could tell by looking at his face, it was not good.

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Susan’s Immunotherapy Story

“In December of 2004 I had serious bleeding and we went right to the emergency room.  I had a cystoscopy immediately, and received a diagnosis of bladder cancer. The doctor who made the diagnosis felt it was serious enough that I needed the level of care that a major medical center

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Couple Roger & Karen – both battle the disease

Karen and Roger live and work in the Washington, DC metro area.  Karen’s bladder cancer diagnosis came in 2010; Roger’s in 2016.  Before that, they were both blessed with good health and have always been very busy with family and friends.  They raised two sons and had always enjoyed intimate

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Mary Beth

I was 28 when I was diagnosed. I had just started a new job. We were house hunting…

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Diane & John Quale

My husband, John Quale, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in May 2000—he was 53, and I was 43. Our lives changed forever on that day.  Like the majority of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer, we had never heard of the disease before, nor did we know of anyone else who

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Lynn

Diagnosed in 2011 at age 53 with muscle invasive bladder cancer  In early May of 2011, I noticed blood in my urine. At first I thought this might be a sign of menopause. Then I recalled that a neighbor nine years earlier had thought that the blood in her urine

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Anna

Diagnosed in 2008 at age 41 with bladder cancer  In August, 2008, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. At the time, I was a 41-year-old physically fit non-smoker and, like most, thought that bladder cancer was a disease that only affected male senior citizens. Before my diagnosis, following a bout

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Nancy

Diagnosed with Stage 1, high grade bladder cancer in 2008  My story may sound like the fastest bladder cancer diagnosis in history but please read to the end. Coming home from a family reunion on Saturday, January 5, 2008 (dates are forever etched into our memories and become as important

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Daphne

Diagnosed at age 53 in 2011 with non-invasive bladder cancer I was diagnosed with minimally invasive bladder cancer in March, 2011. I was completely shocked by the diagnosis! I had been having some symptoms such as pain and dark colored urine for several months, but I thought they were connected

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Carol

Diagnosed in 2009 with non-invasive bladder cancer The first thing I noticed was blood in my urine. I went to my general practitioner who gave me antibiotics and told me to bring a urine sample back in 10 days. When I took my sample back it looked okay to me

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Viola

Diagnosed in 2009 at age 52 with non-invasive bladder cancer Every woman should understand the implications of blood in the urine. I am a middle school life science teacher and even with all I know about the human body, my diagnosis was a shock. While I knew about other cancers,

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Pat

Diagnosed in 2010 at age 65 with Stage III bladder cancer Key message: Missed diagnosis, be your own advocate My experience has taught me to be my own advocate. It began close to two years prior to my diagnosis. I started having to get up at night to go to

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Monica

Diagnosed in 2005 at age 30 with non-invasive bladder cancer Key message: Don’t ignore any aches, pains, or feelings that something is not right within your body. Be attentive and aggressive with your medical care and know that you do not have to face this journey alone. 2005 was a

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