A Beacon of Urostomy Support

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) provides help and hope through advocacy, awareness, research, and education.

Best Exercises after Ostomy Surgery

Learn how BCAN supports people touched by bladder cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States. Did you know that urostomy surgery is a common surgery in bladder cancer treatment? Below is brief overview of the common reasons for urostomy surgery, and how the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) is helping those living with bladder cancer or a urostomy.

Common reasons for urostomy surgery

People get urostomies for many reasons. It may be due to an illness, a chronic condition, or some form of trauma. The common thread is that the bladder is damaged or defective in some way, which requires another path for urine to exit the body.

Although the incidence of bladder cancer is decreasing slightly, it is still the fourth most common type of cancer in men. Your doctor may recommend a urostomy if all or part of your bladder must be removed. A urostomy is a surgically created opening designed to drain urine. It is also sometimes called an ileal conduit stoma or a urinary diversion. Because a urostomy does not have a sphincter muscle, you cannot control when you urinate. Instead, you need to wear a pouch to collect your urine.

BCAN offers support for those living with bladder cancer or urostomies

If you have a urinary diversion due to bladder cancer, you are not alone. The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) is your go-to source for information, support, and connection. BCAN is a community of patients, caregivers, survivors, advocates, and healthcare and research professionals united in support of people touched by bladder cancer. It has been a beacon of hope since 2005, and is the only national advocacy organization devoted to advancing bladder cancer research and supporting those impacted by the disease.

What services does BCAN provide?

Each year, BCAN provides thousands of people with the educational resources and support services they need to navigate their bladder cancer journey. If you have bladder cancer or a urostomy, BCAN can offer you:

  • Expertise – BCAN works collaboratively with medical and research leaders who are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of bladder cancer. Their Scientific Advisory Board of nearly 70 nationally recognized bladder cancer experts ensures that the medical-related content on their website has been reviewed for accuracy.
  • Someone to talk to – BCAN’s Survivor-to-Survivor program matches trained volunteers with newly diagnosed bladder cancer patients for confidential phone support. You can also join their online bladder cancer support group and discussion community.
  • Educational resources – On the BCAN website, you can access informative webinars that feature nationally recognized experts discussing topics related to bladder cancer diagnosis, treatment, research, and quality of life. In addition, you can download their “Bladder Cancer Basics Handbooks” for patients and caregivers.
  • Virtual events – BCAN has converted their successful in-person Walks to End Bladder Cancer into virtual walks. These events continue to connect thousands of people across the United States and around the world, and raise funds to provide free resources for the bladder cancer community.

Many of BCAN’s services can be accessed via their website, which is always available for those who need immediate support. “If someone wakes up in the middle of the night and has an ‘oh-my-gosh’ moment, there is somewhere to turn for answers,” said Stephanie Chisolm, BCAN Director of Education and Research. “We are open online 24/7— nobody has to walk this journey alone.”

BCAN is a beacon of support for survivors of bladder cancer and people with urostomies. Know someone who may benefit from the many valuable resources that BCAN provides? Please share this article with them.