Bladder Cancer Campaigns

Dont Ignore The Red

Irish goalkeeping legend Packie Bonner returned to Dublin today to help raise awareness of a lesser known disease, bladder cancer. With approximately 450 people diagnosed in Ireland each year, the ‘Don’t ignore the red’ campaign, created by Roche in partnership with the Marie Keating Foundation, aims to educate those most at risk of developing the disease to understand the symptoms.

Early detection of bladder cancer may improve a person’s prognosis, so it’s critical to be symptom aware. The most common symptom is blood in urine, and this is a ‘red’ that should never be ignored in any circumstance. 

As a part of this campaign, the Marie Keating Foundation has created a new section on their website to educate the public on bladder cancer symptoms and risk factors, mariekeating.ie/cancer-information/bladder-cancer/.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. Incidence rates have been shown to rise with increasing age, with almost 90% of individuals worldwide living with bladder cancer aged 55 or over. A report carried out by the National Cancer Registry Ireland highlighted several areas of high relative risk for men in Ireland; including the east coast from Louth to Wexford, Donegal and parts of Kerry and Cork.

The exact cause of bladder cancer is still unknown. However, certain genetic and environmental factors are known to be strongly correlated7; for example, those over the age of 55 who smoke or have a history of smoking are considered high-risk for developing bladder cancer.

Packie Bonner, former Ireland goalkeeper, said; “I am really honoured to be involved in this very important campaign. Bladder cancer was not something I knew much about before, so to see the high rates of bladder cancer in my own county of Donegal was a big shock for me. I want to stress how important symptom awareness is, and how it could save so many lives by simply being vigilant about our own health. The message is simple – Don’t ignore the red; I got a red card once on the pitch and I couldn’t ignore it whether it was deserved or not. If you see blood in your urine, don’t ignore it, get yourself to your doctor.”

Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation, said; “Bladder cancer is on the increase in Ireland with up to 450 new cases identified every year. As men over a certain age can be more inclined to ignore signs and symptoms of diseases, we felt it was important to be proactive and do something about the lack of bladder cancer awareness in Ireland. Promoting bladder cancer and other cancers with high prevalence in men is a key concern for the Marie Keating Foundation, and having Packie Bonner on board for this has been an incredible support. We hope with his involvement the ‘Don’t ignore the red’ campaign will help those at high-risk recognise the symptoms and seek medical advice.”

Mike Starnawski, Medical Director, Roche, said; “Bladder cancer is a mass of cells, either very small found in the lining of your bladder, or can develop into bigger masses which can penetrate and grow deep into the bladder wall. Many people with bladder cancer will experience blood in their urine, painful urination and a change in frequency of urination – if you have these symptoms it does not mean you have bladder cancer but they are strong indicators that something is wrong and you should go to your doctor.”

For more information on bladder cancer, its symptoms and to understand the risk factors, please visit https://www.mariekeating.ie/cancer-information/bladder-cancer/.