Dieppe woman walks to raise awareness about bladder cancer
Annie LeBlanc, diagnosed 3 years ago, says few people know about the common cancer
A Dieppe woman who organized a walk in Moncton on Sunday hopes it will get more people talking about bladder cancer, a disease she didn't realize was so common until she suffered from it herself.
Annie LeBlanc, 41, was diagnosed with bladder cancer three years ago after she found blood in her urine.
"For me it was just when I exercised — whenever I did physical activity, I would have some blood in my urine. I also had issues urinating, and that was a red flag," she said. "I went to see my doctor, and went to see a specialist, and found out it was a tumour in my bladder."
LeBlanc had the tumour removed, but one year later, the cancer returned.
She has since undergone treatment and is now cancer-free. But she decided to organize the walk because she feels too little information is out there for those struggling with the disease.
When she was diagnosed at 38, she said she had never heard of bladder cancer.
"For me it's personal," she said. "I found there wasn't much resources out there, there wasn't a lot for me to go on as to what to do, and how this happened ... or any support."
5th most common cancer
Bladder cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in Canada.
Every year, 8,900 Canadians receive the diagnosis and another 2,400 die from it, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Because LeBlanc doesn't have the typical profile of someone at risk to get bladder cancer — male, over 40, smoker, or having been exposed to certain chemicals through work, she said she also wanted people to know of the importance of checking for early signs.
"You can kind of get it without knowing," said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said the walk in Moncton has raised more $2,350 towards support for patients and bladder cancer research.
It was one of 20 held across the country Sunday for Bladder Cancer Canada.