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HomeOur Voice Listening and Learning from Patients Living with Bladder Cancer

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.

Bladder cancer is often seen as the forgotten cancer, despite impacting thousands of hundreds of lives globally. An estimated 12,500 Canadians are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year. It is the fifth most common cancer in Canada, the fourth most common among men and the 8th most common among women.

Earlier in April, the Pfizer Oncology team came together for a full day to focus on better understanding the patient perspective, which included a presentation by Michelle Colero, the Executive Director of Bladder Cancer Canada and a discussion panel with three Canadians who live with bladder cancer.

Angela was diagnosed with bladder cancer in her late 30s after going through a bout of what clinicians thought were urinary tract infections. She eventually had to stop working and had her bladder removed because she wasn’t responding to treatment. She spoke about her journey and daily work to embrace life while accepting her new normal.

Rob likes to say he was put on ‘medically induced retirement’ from his military career following his diagnosis. He never wanted his bladder cancer to be a big dark secret that friends and family had to tiptoe around. He openly shares his story with his group of friends and at public events to help spread the word about bladder cancer.

Tony was experiencing trouble urinating and back pain until his doctors uncovered that the cause of his symptoms was bladder cancer. Despite receiving good medical care, Tony’s cancer evolved to the metastatic stage. Part of his message is focused on the importance of clinician and patient education and being involved in your care. Tony eventually decided to participate in a clinical trial, which is helping keep his cancer at bay more than four years later.

After learning from Angela, Rob and Tony’s personal experiences, the team ended the day with a workshop on how to meaningfully engage and offer support to someone who has received a cancer diagnosis. The session was led by cancer survivor, caregiver and Bladder Cancer Canada’s communications lead Tawny Barratt.

Listening to the experiences of cancer patients and how to offer support is vital to improving the quality of the cancer patient experience. The Pfizer team is grateful to Angela, Rob, Tony and the Bladder Cancer Canada team for taking the time to share their insights which allowed the Pfizer team to better understand different patient perspectives.

To know more about Bladder Cancer, visit

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