19 December 2023 .Canada

Angela’s bladder cancer journey

Bladder Cancer is the 10th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world with 570,000 people diagnosed each year. Around the world, the 1.7 million people living with the condition have their own journeys and personal bladder cancer stories to share.

Below we are honoured to share the bladder cancer journey of Angela. Bladder cancer stories are a powerful reminder of the impact of bladder cancer and also help raise awareness of bladder cancer and highlight the urgent need for new treatments and research, improved care and support for those living with bladder cancer.

Angela (Female) lives in Canada and was diagnosed in 2019 at the age of 38.


Tell us about the symptoms you have experienced and how you dealt with them?

Back pain, blood clots in urine, fatigue

Tell us about how you received your bladder cancer diagnosis? 

I informed my doctor right away when I first started seeing blood in my urine. My doctor treated me for a UTI but the blood in my urine continued and I knew this was something different. My doctor sent me for a cystoscopy and a biopsy was taken. A few weeks later while I was sitting on my desk at work, I received a call from my urologist. Then I heard the words that I knew in my gut were going to be said: “You have bladder cancer”.

Tell us about your feelings and emotions at the time you received your bladder cancer diagnosis? 

My first feeling was disbelief even though in my gut I knew I had cancer from the symptoms I was experiencing. I was so in tune with my body that I knew it to be true. But the feeling I got over my body when I heard those words is hard to describe. I had a couple of days of notifying family and having a good cry but then I concentrated on what the next step was. The word cancer flashed in my mind for days. All I could think was “I have cancer”. Over and over that replayed in my mind. Once I had a treatment plan in place, I felt more at ease with my diagnosis. I trusted my urologist and having appointments scheduled helped with my anxiety.

Who was the first person you told about your bladder cancer diagnosis? 

My first thought was how do I tell my loving parents that I have cancer? It was hard to share this news. I knew they would be scared. I was scared too but I reassured them that I was ok. I knew that I was strong enough to fight my diagnosis and I did just that with a smile on my face. My parents booked a flight right away to be with me during my journey. I was already strong but I felt stronger with them by my side.

What life changes have you made since diagnosis?

I have started to pay attention to any changes in my body. I have developed health anxiety since my diagnosis but I continue to work on both my physical and mental health. I make sure I have enough sleep. I eat healthy and make sure that I can still have pizza or burgers too. Every day I work on something that feeds my soul. Usually, that means a walk with my beautiful dog Dexter, baking bread or making a big pot of soup. I understand the importance of getting fresh air and taking deep breaths outside. I have learned how to live in the present and appreciate what I have in front of me.

Tell us about your experience with bladder cancer treatment? How long did it last? Did you experience side effects? 

In January 2020, I had my first TURBT followed by 6 weeks of BCG. Throughout this year, I had 3 more TURBT’s and 3 more rounds of BCG. Unfortunately, every cystoscopy would show more tumors. Both carcinoma in situ and papillary tumors. By the end of 2020, my cancer became muscle-invasive. I started 2021 with 12 weeks of chemotherapy followed by a radical cystectomy with ileal conduit. My bladder, uterus, urethra, fallopian tubes and lymph nodes were removed. I now have a urostomy named Peeatrice that I wear loud and proud. 2.5 years later there is no more evidence of disease.

What advice would you give to others who may be newly diagnosed with bladder cancer?

To reach out to friends and family. Do not go through it alone if you have people around you that want to help. If someone wants to make you supper or take care of your chores, let them. A lot of patients don’t want to be a burden but many family members want to do those things. It helps them feel useful and it benefits both parties.

Have you reached out to other bladder cancer patients or been part of a bladder cancer support group? 

I lead a women’s support group. It has been so helpful to hear other women’s experiences and to have people who truly understand what I have been and continue to go through. I love hearing feedback from the members on how the support group has made a positive change in their lives. I feel a sense of purpose knowing that I am helping other women with bladder cancer. We have created a community of women that is welcoming and full of knowledge with real-life experiences. When a new member comes to our group, I know there will be a team of women ready to answer all the hard questions. The collective strength is admirable and amazing to be a part of.

Read more bladder cancer patient stories from around the world

Are you or your loved one affected by bladder cancer? Your stories can help others facing a bladder cancer diagnosis and help bring awareness to the disease. Please share your journey and fill in this form. 

If you are looking to learn more about bladder cancer, on our bladder cancer information pages or contact with our member organisations closest to you.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at info@worldbladdercancer.org 

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