‘It’s something that’s not spoken about’: Annual walk aims to raise awareness of bladder cancer

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WATCH: Montrealers gathered in Danyluk Park Sunday for the annual Bladder Cancer Awareness walk to support cancer patients and their care givers, as well as raise awareness about the disease – Sep 23, 2018

There was music, zumba, good food and lots of walking at Mount Royal’s Danyluk Park on Sunday as part of Bladder Cancer Canada’s annual awareness walk.

The event raises money to support bladder cancer patients in addition to funding and promoting research.

According to Dr. Wassim Kassouf of the McGill University Health Centre, bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the country, affecting 85,000 Canadians.

However, bladder cancer is also one of the most underfunded in terms of research.

“It only ranks 19th,” Charles Valenti, co-chair of the Montreal walk, told Global News.

WATCH: The danger and prevalence of bladder cancer

Click to play video: 'Bladder cancer walk' Bladder cancer walk
Bladder cancer walk – Sep 21, 2018

Raising funds isn’t the only reason for the awareness walk. As the name states, it’s about bringing the disease into the spotlight.

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“It’s something that’s not spoken about,” Valenti said. “”We want people to understand the disease and know that it’s there.”

READ MORE: Nearly 9,000 Canadians are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. Here’s what you need to know

Dale Boidman, national chair of the 2018 Bladder Cancer Canada awareness walk, agreed.

“For me, personally, it’s important to educate not only the public but the general practitioners to become more aware of what the symptoms are of bladder cancer,” she said.

Boidman urged anyone experiencing symptoms to get checked out.

“The major symptom is blood in the urine — even once — you must be seen by a urologist,” she said.

WATCH: Doctor says women likely to ignore early signs of bladder cancer

Click to play video: 'Women likely to ignore early signs of bladder cancer: Doctor' Women likely to ignore early signs of bladder cancer: Doctor
Women likely to ignore early signs of bladder cancer: Doctor – May 2, 2017

Boidman’s involvement with the walk is personal.

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“I knew a lot about cancer but nothing about bladder cancer,” she said.

She credits a public lecture she attended for saving her husband’s life.

“He had seen blood three weeks before and had said nothing about it, and if it wasn’t for that (lecture), he unfortunately might not be here today,” Boidman said.

Valenti, a bladder cancer patient himself, also took a moment to reassure others who have been diagnosed with the disease.

“If you happen to have it, you know what? There’s help for you,” he said, adding that Bladder Cancer Canada offers support not only to patients but also their families.

For more information, visit the Bladder Cancer Canada website.

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