Flying our Aussie Flag at BCAN’s 2018 Think Tank in Denver, Colorado

Only a few weeks to go until our ever-passionate board member and patient advocate, Dr Stephanie Demkiw, heads to Colorado to collaborate with BCAN in their annual ‘Think Tank’. This scientific assembly is the premier bladder cancer-specific medical meeting in North America and brings together some of the top medical and scientific minds in bladder cancer.

Since its inception in 2006, the Think Tank meeting has focused on identifying obstacles and creating solutions in bladder cancer research, and has fostered discussions to help define priorities for advancing such research, across the bladder cancer spectrum.

Invited participants include urologists, oncologists, researchers, pathologists, social scientists and patient advocates, all with a shared focus – dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made such generous donations in order to get our Australian voice on the international map!

Highlight on Urology Nurses

Bladder Cancer patients know only too well, the value of specialist nurses who understands stomas, neo bladders, continence issues, ED treatments and all the trials that are associated with bladder cancer.  Kath Schubach is Vice President of Australia & New Zealand Urology Nurses Society (ANZUNS) and also with the Victorian state chapter, VUNS.

Kath says:  “Accurate and evidenced based information is extremely important for bladder cancer patients in all aspects of their care. Nurse’s play a pivotal role in providing patients with this information.”

How do we help nurses remain current in their practice?

Most urology nurses are members of their local Urological Societies. Each society provides its members with access to ongoing education, seminars, and support to attend annual scientific meetings and professional development. This provides opportunity for collaboration and sharing information with our peers and medical colleagues. It also provides us with a direct membership to the Australia and New Zealand Urology Nurses Society (ANZUNS).

Did you know the Australia and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society (ANZUNS) is the peak professional organisation for urology nursing in Australia and New Zealand? The aim of ANZUNS is to promote excellence in urological nursing through research, education & mentoring. I encourage you to access this website and search to see what your local urology society is achieving.

You can contact ANZUNS at or by emailing

My Dad has bladder cancer


I am currently having my Dad go through Bladder Cancer. He was diagnosed with a tumor back in September last year a biopsy was and it turns out it was cancer on the bladder. He was not a smoker, rarely drinks and lives a pretty good life. He was turning 70 in December so this came as a huge shock to all of us. We had to have an operation to remove the tumour because that was causing him so much pain, we were in hospital a few times because the pain was so excruciating for him. Once this first operation was complete we had to go onto chemo to help with the remainder of the cancer. We did 4 cycles of that which took 4 months and then last week he went in for major surgery for 9 hours to remove his bladder, prostate and some lymph nodes. Whilst they were in the operation the surgeon actually found some more possible cancer nodules and was not going to take any risks so he took them out too.

He has been in hospital for a week now and each day is different with pain or nausea, etc. All the general things you should be feeling after having major surgery and its upsetting him and frustrating him that he feels like he isn’t getting better but he actually is, he started the first day with 3 bags attached to his body and now he just has one which is the stoma bag for the diversion of his urine. (This is permanent) But by the 3rd day all but that one bag was gone, he is walking further and further each day. But he has this negative mindset the second one thing goes wrong. He’s not sleeping well and barely eating and he is snapping at both myself and mum, and that hits us hard. Today I actually got so mad at him I walked out. I get he is going through alot of stuff but so are we and if that attitude is going to stay then he can bloody well stay in the hospital because mum will not be able to handle that alone if he comes home.

He has just survived a cancer that could kill him, he should be thankful and positive and happy. The doctors and nurses and the surgeon even said how lucky he was that they caught this early. 6 months time this could have been a whole different ballgame. I need someone who has been through this and survived to go and speak to him and tell him he will be ok because us telling him has had no effect because he is doing is getting angry. He is a routines man, and very OCD so if something is out of place and not in the right spot or you say one thing he just goes off. Today he went off because the patients around him were being too loud. Like small stuff. I just don’t know what to do anymore or how to help him anymore than we are already doing.

Anyone got any advice, or want to go and speak to him for me? I think hearing from someone who has gone through it would definitely help him.


Update on my BCG treatment was I never got to number 6, I was admitted into the San with what was eventually diagnosed as BCGosis… I basically contracted Tuburculosis, means I can no longer have BCG, am now having Chemo infusion…
3 down, three more, wait six weeks then a biopsy.
Very nervous about how this is going, hopefully not to removal of the bladder…
The journey continues.

My BCG Journey

I’m a 65 year old guy, whose life turned upside down in May this year.
I was already under a urologist for prostate cancer due to my family history.
I was walking over greasy rocks at Narrabeen and had a fall, cracked ribs, had blood in my urine…. had tests and was referred to another specialist who found elevated albumin in my kidneys, more intensive urine tests over a week found cancer cells in my bladder…. We received the news one night at 8pm…. was a big shock… The C word, went through all the emotions, asked how, why, all the usuals.
Two days later I saw my urologist who ran me through the procedures, offered my a radical removal of bladder, prostate, etc…. I declined. He then explained he would do a TURBT resection, this found tumours and suspect looking bladder walls, but not invasive, Over a few months I had three resections, each time he removed more material. After the first one they sent me home the next day, I was back in hospital that night with a blockage, very very painful, stayed in hospital another two days. The next two went as per the script, no problems.. I was then sent to another specialist for BCG treatment…
To date I have had 5, the 6th one is this Monday… then wait four weeks for a biopsy.
The good thing has been that previous biopsies have revealed no prostate cancer.
BCG has been okay, I picked up an infection after the second treatment, back into hospital for two days of serious antibiotics, then home to prepare for the next treatment.
I have had enormous headaches, stinging urination, but I take Ural which helps.
This time I have had major tiredness issues, just feel flat, no energy. Will see how I go after number 6…
If the biopsy comes back okay I go into three monthly maintenance. If the biopsy shows invasion then it all gets much more serious.
I feel confident, people are sympathetic, my wife is trying to feed me well… I’m very grateful to the team looking after me, If I had not had the fall, nothing would have been found until it was to late… I feel blessed, and wish everyone else well in their personal journey….Will post my biopsy results on Dec 20 2017….

Bladder Cancer- common yet unheard of.

Following recurrent non-invasive bladder cancer over five years, resections, and treatment plans which consisted of BCG, radiotherapy, and hyperbaric treatment, in October 2014 my father lost his battle with Bladder Cancer at the age of only 48.
Following the failure of these treatment plans in early/mid 2014 he was advised to undergo a cystectomy and the formation of an ileal conduit. However, due to previous radiotherapy this procedure was extremely high risk. There was also a lot of confusion as to wether he still had the cancer at all! While in consultation with medical professionals regarding the next steps to be taken he was placed into palliative care and lost his battle just weeks later.
While bladder cancer is an extremely common cancer with a five year survival rate of only around 50 percent, it is mostly “unheard of” compared to other common cancers such as breast or prostate cancer which actually have a higher five year survival rate. Therefore, much more awareness of bladder cancer is needed!

Our booklet endorsed by the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand

The Bladder Cancer – Solving The Puzzle booklet is endorsed by the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) – August 2017

Further to your letter of 3 April 2017 …. seeking endorsement of the Bladder Cancer Booklet produced by the Bladder Cancer Australia Charity Foundation, the Board referred it to the Genitourinary Special Advisory Group for review of the scientific aspects. The SAG recently reported back that they had no concerns about the contents and felt it would be a useful resource.

The USANZ Board endorsed the booklet and approved the use of the USANZ logo and the establishment of reciprocal links through the website.

Congratulations to the Foundation on this initiative.


Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand

Story from across the ditch

Husband is Aussie so hopes that counts! Bladder issues for several years before malignant cells found in urine in early 2013. Much delay & seemingly indifference from drs, disease progresses to stage 4 by June 2014. Chemo, RC with ic, which showed cancer in prostate as well as nodes & bladder. A few months later pain in pelvic groin areas. Told it was sciatic. Eventually groin nodes swollen & CT reveals Mets to bones. More chemo. Some response but now more areas in spine, ribs, & now node in neck. Palliative radiation ended with Greg hospitalised for 12 days. Losing weight fast with constant nausea & now an aversion to food. Maybe possible immunotherapy but have to rob a bank to do that!
What a ride! Not wished on anyone.
He’s only 62 yrs young but looks & feels 20 yrs older. Hunter, Fisher, DIYer, hard worker, mate to many, wonderful dad & hubby.
Yes, would love to support this group.
Travel safe to all.

If only…

My husband is only 52. Last Easter we came home from a camping trip and when he went to the loo and was peeing blood, it was literally red wine.

I took him to our local hospital, who did a prostate exam, which was clear and ordered an ultrasound the next day being a Thursday. The following Monday myself hubby and daughter went to see the dr for the results, a tumour in the bladder, off to the urologist who did a big and scraping and big, news wasn’t good, cancer, the biopsy showed a malignant tumour grade 4 grown into muscle wall.

It was decided to have a bladder removal and illeal conduit performed. News was good after taking the bladder, prostate and surrounding lymph nodes the all clear was given, no cancer in surrounding lymph nodes, a follow up appt was ordered for 6 months. 3 months later hubby had pain in his back and the local dr thought, and so did we, sciatica, off we went camping again, pain was bad and nobody enjoyed the camp. Went back the next day to the dr who then ordered an X-ray to see if a disc was damaged, it was back, the cancer had metastasized to the spine, rib, both legs, it was now in the bones. 😭

Oncologist was seen and the next day he was having radiation, 10 days of 6 zaps a day, followed by 4 months of chemotherapy, last week we were told the lymph nodes were almost back to normal size, the tumours had stated to shrink and no more chemo for a month. He will be having a bone scan at the end of April 2017, and will go from there. This is my husbands story, he had been given 12 to 18 months to live back in November, we will keep fighting and will never stop.

Bladder cancer needs to be made aware of more than it is.