Zina Lombardi was a healthy, active 40-year-old mother of three when she learned she had bladder cancer.
“In late 2010, I was noticing some streaking, some blood when I would go to the bathroom. I really didn’t have any other symptoms, so like most people, I ignored it for probably two or three months,” Lombardi said.
According to Bladder Cancer Canada, about 9,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, and in most cases blood in the urine is the first warning sign.
The trouble is, for women, that symptom is most often linked to another more common health problem, according to urologist Dr. Peter Black.
“It’s often assumed that blood is a urinary tract infection so the necessary tests aren’t done to show that it’s bladder cancer,” Black said.
Lombardi’s stage two bladder cancer diagnosis meant that she required four rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove her bladder.
Recovery, she admits, was long and difficult, but today she’s feeling good and sharing her story so that others will learn the signs.
“What I say to people is — if you see blood in your urine, go have it looked at and make sure if you’re told that it is a bladder infection, that it’s confirmed with a urinalysis that it really is an infection,” Lombardi said.
“If not, then further investigation is necessary.”