Letter: Be aware of the warning signs for bladder cancer

Published 6:14 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

Over the past couple of years, friends of mine have passed away from cancer of the bladder. Others who have survived have been through various traumatic treatments to include radiation and worse. I myself was recently diagnosed and currently going through the treatment of bladder cancer. I am fortunate I acted on the first sign. I never bothered to ask my friends how they thought to seek medical attention. For some of my friends, it was months from when the first symptom appeared, and unfortunately for some it was years before they sought medical attention. In all cases, the first warning sign was the same, blood and blood clots in the urine. In my case, it appeared only twice. The first time I saw this symptom, I called and made an appointment with my medical provider. The next time I saw this symptom was the day before my appointment. A blood draw and urine sample tested positive for cancer cells. The following day, my doctor scheduled a CT scan and an appointment with urology. One week after the CT scan, I was looking at a picture of the cancer that was in my bladder. The CT scan confirmed the cancer had not spread beyond that. The next week noninvasive surgery was performed, removing the cancer. A follow up of BCD treatments are scheduled to take place for the next eight weeks to prevent the re-occurrence of this type of cancer. (BCD treatments are far less invasive than radiation and chemotherapy and are localized to the treatment area.)

The reason for this letter is I had no knowledge that this early warning sign was not to be ignored. I just hope to get the word out for all those who also are not aware of this warning sign.

George Gillespie

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Albert Lea