My name is Ryan Lougheed, citizen of Sudbury, and an average Joe. On Nov. 10, 2017, my entire world changed and for the “better” when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
One might ask why this day, when the world dropped out from under me, would I ever recognize it as changing my life for the better? I realized that this unfortunate situation could be used for the greater good. I’d never even heard of bladder cancer until that day, what causes it, whether it is treatable, etc.
Today, not only am I informed, but I have realized I can use my diagnosis to help make real change. Better still, the change can happen right here in Sudbury at Health Sciences North and will benefit patients from throughout Northeastern Ontario. My diagnosis was the first step in my journey to improve patient care.
The most important message when it comes to bladder cancer awareness is: If you see red, you need to see a doctor. So, on Nov. 10 2017, once I wiped away all the tears and collected my thoughts, I then filled my family in on the news.
When I took a moment to think about what this was going to mean for me, my mission was clear. I realized that the tears from everyone in my circle were happening because of a fear of the unknown and that dreaded C word — cancer. I decided that being afraid of cancer was not going to be part of my journey. My first step was to get informed and I quickly discovered that there is a plethora of information about bladder cancer — some good and some bad — but it was all very useful, not only as a person with cancer but also to my circle of care.
During this information gathering, I had a friend send me an article that was published in Maclean’s Magazine about bladder cancer technology and a new technology that has been approved in Canada and is currently in use in a few hospitals.
The technology is called “blue light cystoscopy” and studies have shown that this technology not only assists with better detection of bladder cancer tumors but also can reduce the overall cost of treatment per patient. I spoke with my doctor about the validity of this technology and the rest is now history with the creation of the Northern Cancer Foundation Bladder Cancer Technology Fund. I have also signed on to be the region’s ambassador for Bladder Cancer Canada.
I have partnered with the Northern Cancer Foundation to commence several fundraising campaigns to bring this technology to Sudbury, including the Ionic Mountain Bike Tour 2018, on July 22 at the Naughton Trail Centre.