TORONTO, CANADA (May 15, 2020) – This year, 12,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, and for many of these Canadians, the global development of COVID-19 will impact bladder cancer diagnoses, treatments and outcomes. With hospitals experiencing a delay in cancer-related surgeries and treatments, and access to healthcare teams being limited, now, more than ever, awareness and support for bladder cancer patients will begin at home.
“Bladder cancer awareness is a critical first step to a successful diagnosis and a positive outcome of this disease that was responsible for the deaths of almost 200,000 people around the world in 2018,” says Dr. Dionne Duncan, Bladder Cancer Canada’s Executive Director. “Despite national concern about seeking emergency care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still crucial to speak to a healthcare professional if blood is discovered in the urine.”
Despite the cancellation of many public events across Canada designed to support and inform bladder cancer patients and their caregivers, Bladder Cancer Canada continues to offer online support meetings and a One2One Peer Support Volunteer Program that enables individuals to receive support from the comfort of their own home.
“Our volunteers are highly trained and while they will not provide medical advice, they will recommend when it’s very important for an individual to seek medical help,” says Duncan. “This alone has the potential to save the lives of many.”
Enhancements to these online support programs have been rolled out partly because of the COVID-19 crisis, but also as part of Bladder Cancer Awareness Month this May.
May is also when Bladder Cancer Canada launches its annual awareness walk campaign, which raises approximately $600,000 each year to support the organization’s mission to increase awareness, provide support and fund research.
The walk is traditionally held every September in parks across Canada, as thousands come together to create awareness for bladder cancer. As a result of COVID-19, the organization has decided to move to a “virtual” walk to protect the health and safety of their bladder cancer community, especially for those with compromised immune systems.
“We’re changing the event format this year as a result of social distancing requirements and recommendations, and are instead encouraging participants to walk during the month of September in very small groups in their own neighborhoods or on a treadmill at home, while still raising funds for Bladder Cancer Canada,” says Duncan. “Even during a pandemic, Canadians facing bladder cancer need our support, and this year, support starts at home.”
Visit our walk website for more information: www.bccwalk.ca. You can register and start fundraising today!