Dementia and Bladder Cancer

Mum was diagnosed with Dementia in Oct 2019, things were getting a little confusing for her for some time prior. Sadly her awareness and vigilance to what was to come was challenged.

I noticed considerable swelling to her right leg and ankle, followed this up with her GP and later her doctor at Peter Mac Cancer Hospital. Over previous years mum survived vaginal cancer and lymphoma and therefore was a continued outpatient at Peter Mac. CT scan raised by her haematologist raised concern on her bladder, followed this up with urologist and high grade bladder cancer was diagnosed and sadly penetrated the muscle wall in September 2020.

Initial surgery to remove the tumor in late September was performed and at this time the urologist recommended a full bladder removal. Seeking a second opinion led to the follow-up of a pet scan, lymph node exploratory and later the removal of a lymph node to confirm if the cancer had spread. Thankfully it had not spread, however the outcome did confirm a full bladder removal was necessary.

Mum experienced extremely frequent urination throughout the day and in particular night as she lay in bed, burning and blood in the urine not relenting. In December mum was admitted to hospital, underwent 9 weeks of hospitalisation which included numerous procedures including nephrostomy bags and finally full bladder removal.

This exhausted her immensely and unfortunately her dementia baseline declined rapidly given several procedures each involving a general anaesthetic. Surgical, nursing and allied health team worked tiredly, however sadly mum lost her fight on February 13th 2021.

What we now know and learnt….
– Mum had intense radio therapy to the pelvic area 28 years prior, this was raised as the possible side effect which may have triggered the bladder cancer.
– Recommend automatic screening for those who have undergone radiotherapy to the pelvic area.
– Awareness and screening similar to bowel cancer for over 50’s and in particular for our aging community challenged with Dementia is most certainly needed to assist in early detection.

RIP mum x
Maria Marinaccio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Add Your Story