New support group for bladder cancer patients

Monday, 4 April 2016

A new support group has been set up at Southmead Hospital for patients given a diagnosis of bladder cancer, and their partners/carers.

The first meeting will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 6pm at the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre which is located next to the Breast Care Centre.

This new group will provide a valuable support network for patients and their carers from the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer right through their journey of treatments, investigations, and surgeries.

The setting up of the group coincides with the Department of Health’s “Be clear on cancer” initiative and is supported by Macmillan Cancer Care and advised by the Action on Bladder Cancer Charity under whose umbrella the group will operate.

The group was set up by Helen Chilcott, a Urology/Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Southmead Hospital and assisted by Dick Hills, a bladder cancer patient from Swindon.

Helen said:  “We know from other cancer sites and patient feedback that there is huge value in people meeting, hearing and talking with other people about their cancer. With the help and support from Action on Bladder Cancer, Dick Hills in particular, and the Macmillan Centre at Southmead Hospital, we have set up a bladder cancer support group.

“The group is for anyone in Bristol and surrounding areas who has been affected by bladder cancer.

“The group will be well supported by the urology team from Southmead Hospital, but will focus on what the bladder cancer patients want rather than what the healthcare professionals think they need.”

Dick added: “I was originally approached by the Action on Bladder Cancer Charity and asked if I could help in setting up support groups for bladder cancer patients.

“Although I am based in Wiltshire and under the care of the Urology Department at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, I came to Southmead for my operation to remove the bladder and prostate, so I very grateful to the staff at both hospitals for the care and support they have given me.

“During my journey from initial diagnosis through to bladder removal there were many times when I could have done with someone to talk to. As a patient you don’t always want to pester the medical staff but would appreciate talking to someone who has been there and knows what you are going through.

“I set up the first group at Swindon a few months ago and it has been a great success, and following an initial meeting here in Bristol in January this meeting will be the first of many and the start of what I hope will be a successful group and a useful tool for the Urology Department at Southmead to use.”

Anyone wanting more information about the group can call the bladder cancer specialist nurse team at Southmead on 0117 414 0512.

  • Bladder Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men 
  • Bladder cancer is the 13th most common cancer in women
  • Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in both sexes
  • Over 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and the number is rising and sadly approximately 5,000 people die from this disease each year
  • Bladder cancer is eminently treatable if caught early enough and need not be fatal
  • Treatments with curative intent for the minority of more advanced disease include radiotherapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgical removal of tumours as they appear
  • The bladder can be replaced by an internally constructed bladder e.g. “neo-bladder” or by diverting the urine from the kidneys to an external stoma to which a drainage bag is attached.