Bladder cancer is one of the more common forms of urologic cancers and has long since been thought of as a “man’s disease.” Only recently has research focused on bladder cancer in females become more prevalent. Although men are at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer, 25% of bladder cancer patients are women, and they often present with more advanced disease and have more unfavorable outcomes. Research has shown that there is often a delay for women getting into treatment for bladder cancer because their urologic systems differ significantly from men, and initial symptoms are misdiagnosed for other female issues.
This means that women are more likely to suffer from symptoms longer. By the time they receive a true diagnosis, they often require radical bladder removal surgeries and traditional chemotherapy. These surgeries leave them with long, painful recoveries and a lifetime of additional urinary issues.
Eleven years ago, when Louise Huber started having urinary issues, the urologist she initially met with suggested that it was merely a urinary tract infection (UTI). With her symptoms worsening, she saw a specialist who provided a shattering diagnosis: bladder cancer. This is when she started seeing top urologic oncologist Dr. Peter Black, Khosrowshahi Family Chair in Bladder Cancer Research.
After months of chemo and recovery, Louise underwent a radical cystectomy, where Dr. Black removed her bladder and other organs including her ovaries and fallopian tubes to ensure the cancer wouldn’t spread. At times she was so exhausted from the chemo and the surgery, she could barely even walk.
Now, ten years later and living a healthy, active life with her husband, Louise is incredibly grateful for the care she received from Dr. Black and the whole urology team. She attributes much of her strength during treatment to the encouragement from Dr. Black and his team, and their ongoing dedication to patients.
“It’s all about Dr. Black. His encouragement was so special, and I feel so lucky. He’s so busy, and so in demand, but he always makes himself incredibly available to his patients.”
The Urologic Sciences campaign will provide critical funding to invest in innovative research to advance knowledge of urologic diseases and improve the health of British Columbians. Thanks to the generosity of donors, scientists like Dr. Black can continue to build on the incredible care they provide, while improving early detection methods so that more women like Louise can be a beacon of hope to others battling urologic cancers.
Together we discover. Together we save lives.