“Family guide to bladder cancer” #YCANCER

When one looks in after a family member or loved one is diagnosed with cancer, immediately it seems like you have just been given a death sentence.

The reality is however, that the more knowledge and information you gather over time on the specific cancer, the easier it becomes to understand and accept. Speaking with doctors, medical experts and friends who have experienced a similar situation, I have learnt the following pertaining to bladder cancer:

1.)     It is very common in men and in 90% of men over 55.

2.)     It is curable with various treatments such as chemo therapy, radiation, bladder removal, called  a cystectomy.

3.)     About 75 percent of transitional cell bladder cancers are superficial at the time of diagnosis.

4.)     The remaining 25 percent are invasive, requiring more complicated treatment.

5.)      Smoking is estimated to be responsible for nearly half of bladder cancers in men and about  one-third in women.
Symptoms may include:
  • Blood (a rusty, red or pink hue) or blood clots (dark particles) in your urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Needing to urinate but not being able to
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain in your lower back on one side

As the facts unfold, we are more prepared to accept the urologists decision. He will shortly undergo a TURBT procedure.

  • Transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TUR or TURBT) — scraping the cancer from inside the bladder. Often a localized form of chemotherapy is injected slowly into the bladder to try and kill all the cancerous cells in the bladder wall. This is the normal treatment for approximately 70% of all bladder cancer patients.

They will try and cut out some of the cancer cells and also get staging. This will be his 3rd TURBT.

When he first got diagnosed 6 months ago, the urologist called us in as a family and informed us that the bladder had to be removed. We were in absolute shock and conjured up these thoughts of him walking around with a smelly urine bag, anxious about the maintenance thereof and then of course the physiological and psychological effect it would have on his partner and himself. Not at any stage did we think of the positive and the possible new lease on life. At that time, our relative decided not to go ahead with the operation and as a family we had to respect and acknowledge that it was his body and his decision.

Six months later, more accepting of his reality, added to the fact that the tumour has grown aggressively, he is able to see things differently. The one question we posed to him on our last visit, “do you choose life?”As we anxiously await the outcome of his TURBT, we have submitted ourselves to the truth. As long as there is life, there is hope. And as long as we have hope, we have an opportunity. An opportunity to fight, to fight against all the odds and ultimately submit to the power of God.

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