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Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

by Christine Scott

Photo by Cancer Type

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network is the first national patient advocacy organization dedicated to raising public awareness about bladder cancer and increasing funding directed at improving treatments and finding a cure for this disease. Bladder cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, but until BCAN was created in 2005, the disease was largely ignored by the public. Unfortunately, lack of public understanding of this type of cancer has resulted in delays in diagnoses and poorer outcomes.

BCAN is committed to increasing awareness about bladder cancer through its educational and outreach programs by offering information, resources, and support to the more than 500,000 people currently living in the United States with the disease. BCAN provides these resources through a variety of venues, including regional forums held twice a year across the country that give people with bladder cancer and their caregivers an opportunity to learn more about their disease from recognized medical experts. These forums also offer a venue where survivors can meet with other survivors, share experiences and information, and create a sense of community.

BCAN is committed to increasing awareness about bladder cancer through its educational and outreach programs.

BCAN also provides ongoing educational resources for people with bladder cancer and caregivers through live radio programs, webinars, and telephone workshops. A listing of upcoming events can be found on the BCAN website, www.bcan.org. The website offers a user-friendly resource for people with bladder cancer, clinicians, and caregivers, including a matching clinical trials tool, an online treatment options tool, medical news, and information for the newly diagnosed. Website visitors will also find inspirational stories from survivors, and as part of its redesigned website, BCAN now provides an online community where people with bladder cancer and caregivers can find support and information from others who are living with the disease.

BCAN provides outreach and education through written materials, including a handbook for the newly diagnosed and pamphlets that provide basic information about the disease. With contributions from members of BCAN’s Scientific Advisory Board (comprised of more than 30 prominent academic urologists, oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists representing many of the major cancer centers in the United States and Canada), BCAN will be publishing a comprehensive new book on living with bladder cancer.

To learn more about BCAN's programs and services, visit their website, www.bcan.org or call (888) 901-BCAN.

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BCAN is a 501(c) (3) organization, and donations to BCAN are tax-deductible.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2008.