|Life saving, but life changing experience|
|Written by Communications Team|
It’s just two years since “Ann” had a life-saving operation at St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey.
She’s feeling much better now but the major surgery involved not only removing her bladder but other internal organs that had been affected by the bladder cancer she was experiencing – brought about by smoking. Ann had only ever smoked five or six tipped cigarettes a day, not starting until in her 20’s, and yet this small, pleasurable habit, was to have a devastating effect.
Her message to smokers now is simple: “Don’t do it! I’d say that to anyone, but particularly to the young boys and girls. We all see youngsters smoking when we’re out and about and I feel I’d like to tell them of the dangers, but you can’t just go up to them!
“I don’t think this message of the connection between cigarettes and bladder cancer has got across to the general public, and I think people ought to be told. My illness was a direct result of smoking – and it came as a big surprise to me.”
Ann, now 64, first knew there was something amiss when she began passing blood in her urine. Initially she was tested for a urine infection and the results were clear, but she knew something was radically wrong when she began needing to spend a penny every 5 – 10 minutes. She had to stop walking the dog and give up her strenuous work.
Said Ann: “When I got referred to the hospital and we got the results of the tests I really panicked. Twice they tried to shrink the tumour with laser treatment but in the end surgery was my only option. The consultant said there was a 90% chance of success if I had this very big operation and everything was explained very carefully. I was shattered at the time but I’m very grateful that I’ve come through it as I have.
“It really took me a year to get used to no longer “spending a penny” but living with a urine collection bag. Now, after two years I’ve got my strength back and am getting on with life, but I’m sure that if more people knew what smoking can do to their bladder I think it might make them stop and think!”