Edmonton Support Group and Awareness Program for Bladder Cancer

The Cause

This year alone in Canada 8000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer and 80,000 people are currently living with it. This means that there are 8800 people in Alberta and 2000 people in Edmonton living with bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Canada and yet remains to be one of the least talked-about and most under-funded cancers, ranking 19th in terms of funding for cancer research among all types of cancer.

About a year and half ago, Bladder Cancer Canada organized a patient education meeting in Edmonton where over 100 people attended. Out of that meeting, a core group of five patients met one another and decided to keep the momentum going. They started to meet on a monthly basis to tackle various initiatives including:

- Spreading awareness about bladder cancer in Northern Alberta
- Advocating for early diagnosis of bladder cancer
- Organizing a local support group for patients
- Establishing an awareness walk

Since last July (2014) this group has held a support group on a monthly basis. They have been able to do this at a very low cost so far with a free meeting room and by volunteering their time to organize it, but some funding could go a long way to help them spread the word and assist others within the region.

It is truly incredible how two women and three men with bladder cancer, who met by chance, have become not only a fantastic team that spreads awareness, but also life-long friends.

Who Will it Benefit?

As mentioned, bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Canada and yet remains to be the least talked about. In the past, patients have reported feeling alone and isolated with little or no information available to them. Just over five years ago, Bladder Cancer Canada was founded with the idea of starting local chapters and support groups across Canada to assist patients and families.

The five local volunteers involved with the Edmonton support group organize events where patients feel welcomed and no longer alone. They can obtain useful information about their diagnosis from others who have been where they have been. They can feel empowered by the support and information they receive. To date, the Edmonton volunteer team has assisted dozens of patients with the goal of reaching every bladder cancer patient throughout Edmonton and Northern Alberta.

This group of five is committed to getting more Albertans talking about bladder cancer. They have placed hundreds of posters and postcards throughout the city for the \'See Red; See Your Doctor\' campaign which promotes earlier diagnosis of bladder cancer. Early diagnosis means a better outcome, longer survival and improved quality-of-life.