Stewart's Story

Bladder cancer receives just 1% of cancer research funding in the UK, despite being the 4th most common cancer in men in the UK. A lack of funding and knowledge of the condition means that often people with bladder cancer wait too long for a diagnosis.

Stewart after completing the London to Brighton bike ride.

To mark World Cancer Day, we spoke to Stewart Crowe, a bladder cancer patient, who was finally diagnosed after a long and frustrating journey. His story demonstrates how much work is needed to close the diagnosis and funding gap so stories like his become less common in the bladder cancer community. 

Stewart, now 74, had spent over a year going back and forth to his local GP with suspicious and uncomfortable symptoms. 

It was always the same response, “drink more water!” 

Stewart, a swim coach at the time, was unconvinced. His job meant he always stayed hydrated. He knew something wasn’t right.

As well as getting a bladder infection a year prior, Stewart found he was constantly needing to go to the toilet, would wake up throughout the night and needed to go multiple times an hour. 

Soon his symptoms got worse and even more worrying. There was now blood in his urine.  So, he made a trip to the GP again. 

Over the space of a few months, he was repeatedly told he had a urinary tract infection (UTI) and was put on multiple courses of antibiotics. When it didn’t clear up, he was eventually referred to the hospital. 

The tests showed that he had a 5-6cm tumour. It was bladder cancer. 

“We know there isn’t a bottomless money pit for the NHS but perhaps in respect of age, if people are presenting with the major symptoms of bladder cancer like always needing to go to the loo and repeatedly having so-called UTI’s, then they need to be properly checked out,” said Stewart. 

“It shouldn’t be rocket science!” 

Since his diagnosis, Stewart has not let bladder cancer stop him from making the most of his life. He amazingly completed the London to Brighton bike ride, 55 miles long, in just over four hours after undergoing treatment.

Stewart and his wife Denise have recently made a gift to Fight Bladder Cancer in their Will.

“There are lots of cancer charities, but Fight Bladder Cancer is not generic,” he explained. 

“They are specialists. I feel that they are there for me, Denise, and my family. Their goodwill and warmth make a real difference. The value of Fight Bladder Cancer is that they are focused and experienced. Their support is specific and personal.”


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