How to Raise Awareness of Bladder Cancer

Health Writer
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If you or a loved one has bladder cancer — or survived it — you may know that it is the fourth most common type of cancer for men in the U.S. Most people, however, are unaware of how prevalent this type of cancer is. And since early diagnosis is key in overcoming it, raising awareness can be critical. Not sure how to go about this? We’ve culled the best ideas and tips from leading bladder cancer organizations. Here’s how to get started:


Educate your primary care doctor about bladder cancer

Primary care doctors who see a broad range of patients may not be as intimately familiar as you are with the symptoms of bladder cancer. Never hesitate to ask your doctor if symptoms could pertain to bladder cancer, says Stephanie Chisolm, M.D., of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN). You can also download posters and flyers to bring to your appointment and offer to post in your clinic.


Lobby your legislators about bladder cancer

That may sound intimidating, but signing up for an alert through an organization such as BCAN can make it as simple as picking up the phone. If you’ve found your calling in advocacy, One Voice Against Cancer hosts an annual training day for volunteers in Washington, D.C., where representatives from various organizations meet with legislators.


Run or walk for bladder cancer

Walk/Run to End Bladder Cancer: Not an athlete? No problem: Options to raise awareness through 5K runs the gamut. Through BCAN, you can organize a race, rally people to participate as a team captain, or compete yourself.


Speak up, tell your bladder cancer story

Public speaking may sound daunting, but organizations such as BCAN take the trepidation out of public speaking, making it easy to tell your story or staff a table at a local health fair. If telling your own story isn’t your thing, the organization has pre-fab material ready for you to present.


Answer a bladder cancer survivor’s call

Via BCAN’s Survivor 2 Survivor phone bank, you can answer newly diagnosed bladder cancer patients’ questions. Finding someone who has been through a cancer diagnosis can bring great relief to new patients. And by sharing your own experiences, you’re likely to inspire hope.


Get social, use top bladder cancer hashtags

Use the hashtags #BCAN and #bladdercancer to share research and news about bladder cancer. Or grab this selfie frame to spread awareness on your favorite social media site.


Share your bladder cancer story in the media

Have an inspirational survival story? (If you’re a survivor, you probably do!) Email BCAN, and someone will help connect you with local or national press.


Keep it local

Find out if your area has a bladder cancer support group. People on your health team — an oncology nurse, a patient navigator, or social worker — will likely know if nearby support groups exist. If not, consider starting one. These tips from Cancer Support Community can help.


Keep talking to raise bladder cancer awareness

With early diagnosis critical to surviving bladder cancer, knowing the main symptoms can help patients get a head start, reminds Fight Bladder Cancer. Spread the word as often as you can by simply talking about it with people you know (friends, relatives, co-workers) — and encouraging them to do the same.