All of us bladder cancer patients, must be vigilant in making and keeping check-up appointments. For me cystoscopies are currently 3 monthly and, happily the recent one on 2 December and was all clear, NED as it’s known (no evidence of disease). My urologist was as relieved as me as we scrutinized my pink and somewhat scarred bladder on the screen for lumps or bumps.
Two of my fellow bladder-cancer-warrior-buddies (one local and one virtual) have recently had good news too. Both after 6 weeks of BCG treatment; it’s so bonding to share some highs as well as the lows of day-to-day treatment and operations.
Cystoscopies haven’t been the only screenings I’ve had this year. Apparently, bladder cancer patients can be prone to local spread where cancer pops up in other nearby organs. Ureters and kidneys need to be checked regularly especially as the cells in the ureter (the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder) are made up of the same cells as the innermost lining of the bladder. Ultrasounds pick up changes in the kidneys but a Urography (x-ray with contrast dye) or CT scan about once a year is more thorough.
My gynecologist recommends a smear test and all-round check twice a year as the reproductive and urinary organs are so close to each other. This year I also had an MRI scan – and a CT scan to check the upper urinary tract more carefully. Finally, I also found time between all the other appointments to get a colonoscopy too.
So, as 2019 draws to a close, I’m feeling grateful that my bladder and other organs nearby are clear. If anything is found it’s always easier to deal with in the early stages. So, I urge anyone due for a screening to bite the bullet, it’s not fun being checked but it’s a great feeling afterwards.