Community Views: Bladder Cancer is NOT the “Easy” Cancer
Among those who do not personally live with bladder cancer, there is often a belief that bladder cancer is the "easy" cancer. "If you have to get cancer, this is the kind to get" is often insensitively declared by doctors, friends, and acquaintances. It is a hurtful comment since it downplays the seriousness of this cancer.
We were interested in your experience with such responses to your diagnosis. To learn more, we turned to our community members and asked: "Have you ever been told bladder cancer was the 'easy' cancer?"
Many of you provided heartfelt feedback. Here is a glimpse at what was shared.
Cancer is cancer
Everyone who receives a cancer diagnosis feels the plummeting horror in the pit of their stomach. It does not matter what kind – cancer is a terrifying diagnosis. Bladder cancer upends your life, even when it is treatable.
"No cancer is easy."
"My husband just had his cancerous bladder removed and was told it is one of the hardest surgeries to recover from."
"I'm shocked that anyone would consider a disease that can result in life-or-death situations is ever easy."
Fear of recurrence
When bladder cancer goes into remission, it is still not over. While the cells may be gone, the fear stays with you. Anytime you have scans, tests, or particular symptoms arise, anxiety creeps in. You constantly worry that cancer could come back.
"Nothing easy about it when you spend the rest of your life wondering if it will come back."
"I'm always reluctant to use the word 'had,' as in the back of my mind I'm always afraid of post-complications."
"I am always worrying if it's back or if any symptoms or pain are worrisome."
Care to trade?
Some of you shared that when you encounter people who make insensitive comments about your diagnosis, you respond by suggesting they take your place. If bladder cancer is that easy, would they like it instead?
"I'll trade your non-cancer body and life for my post-cancer surgery and life any day."
"When people told me that at least I got a 'good cancer,' I'd ask them if they’d like to change places with me."
It is life-altering
Bladder cancer is often treatable, but it is also life-altering. Regular treatments and scans become part of your life. For those who undergo surgery, the bag is forever. Bladder cancer is challenging to navigate.
"I have trouble with the injection treatments as they are VERY PAINFUL."
"Being a 15-year survivor, I still have some bad days."
"Even though I am now considered cancer-free, I have to live with a bag for the rest of my life."
"I had stage 4 bladder cancer with 2 weeks to live at the time of total pelvic exenteration surgery. I have 2 bags for life: colostomy and urostomy."
It can be fatal
The success of treating bladder cancer often hinges on the timing of diagnosis. Those diagnosed in later stages may face greater challenges getting into remission. Several of you shared the recent loss of loved ones to bladder cancer. We send our deepest condolences to you as you grieve.
"My mom just lost her life to bladder cancer yesterday."
"My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer in January and sadly passed away in May. I miss him so much!"
"My husband died after battling for 8 years. He had his bladder removed, chemo, radiation, clinical trial – everything!"
We are grateful to each of you for sharing your responses to this prompt. Bladder cancer is not easy. Here, you are among those who understand. Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or share your story with the community.
How long did you wait before telling others about your diagnosis?