Bladder Cancer Advocacy with BCAN

Last updated: August 2020

The Editorial Team at interviewed a representative from the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) to talk about the organization's history and mission, as well as the many ways to get involved in raising awareness for bladder cancer during awareness month this May! We spoke with Stephanie Chisholm, Director of Education & Research, about how BCAN supports scientists who focus their research on bladder cancer. She also shared some ways in which people living with bladder cancer and their loved ones can participate in awareness initiatives this month. Read on to find out more!

What is BCAN’s mission and how does this relate to raising awareness for bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer affects people of all ages and races and is the 6th most common cancer found in the U.S. according to the National Cancer Institute – yet it is one of the least talked about cancers to date. BCAN was started in 2005 by John Quale and his wife, Diane Zipursky Quale. They were frustrated by the lack of research and educational resources for bladder cancer. Sadly, John passed away in 2008, but the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) has been going strong ever since. Our mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research and, provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.

BCAN is on the front lines of the latest bladder cancer research. What areas of research are the most exciting for you right now?

Supporting bladder cancer research has been a key part of BCAN’s mission. We support experienced researchers with our Bladder Cancer Research Innovation two-year award. We also feel strongly about supporting early career clinical and translational researchers. This year we are offering two one-year Young Investigator Awards. We were even able to add a third award that focuses on Patient Centered Clinical Research that addresses questions from our Patient Survey Network. And in our commitment to encouraging talented scientists to get involved with bladder cancer research early, we offer our John Quale Travel Fellowships so four very early career physician scientists can attend our annual scientific meeting, the Bladder Cancer Think Tank.

How can people living with bladder cancer & their loved ones get involved during bladder cancer awareness month?

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month! Many patients tell us they never knew you could get cancer in their bladders until they receive their diagnosis. The warning signs, such as blood in your urine (hematuria) or changes in the urgency and frequency of urination, could be signs of many other diseases as well. When someone has no known risk factors (such as smoking or working with chemicals called aromatic amines) and has one of these signs, they are often treated for other conditions before doctors even consider looking for bladder cancer.

Anyone can get involved with BCAN! Our signature Walk to End Bladder Cancer is happening in over 25 cities from now until June. These Walks raise awareness and funds to support our mission. There are many other ways to raise awareness, including sharing our Bladder Cancer Awareness Quiz with family, friends, and co-workers. Learn more about what is happening during Bladder Cancer Awareness Month here.

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