Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: reaffirming our commitment to people living with bladder cancer (Guest blog)

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned modern life on its head and forced us to re-think our priorities. Countless resources have been mobilised in the global collaborative effort to tackle the virus. This is, of course, extremely inspiring to see, as organisations and individuals throughout the industry come together to try to mitigate the impact of the crisis. At the same time, I’m very aware that many people are continuing to live, and be diagnosed with, other life-changing conditions, which have a huge impact on their wellbeing. This is something that must always be remembered, even while COVID-19 rightly remains a key focus.

It is why Bladder Cancer Awareness Month is such an important moment in the year, even more so in the midst of the current pandemic. While bladder cancer affects people, from patients to their friends and family, every day, May marks an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to people living with bladder cancer and recognise what more needs to be done by all of us to improve the treatment options, outcomes and ultimately lives of all those impacted.

Throughout the course of my career, starting as a medical doctor and then spending time in various roles in industry, I have seen first-hand the impact that diseases such as bladder cancer can have on people’s lives. I’ve also seen that wherever you work – be it at a hospital or a pharmaceutical company – it is imperative that everyone works together with a common purpose.

EFPIA’s WeWon’tRest campaign has already illustrated the benefits of this kind of collaboration, and Bladder Cancer Awareness Month provides us with the opportunity to come together and discuss what more can be done. Bladder cancer is one of the top five most common cancers in Europe, so we need to bring the whole industry together with a spirit of enthusiasm and determination, using our collective expertise to reach the goals that we all share.

Awareness will also play a key role in these efforts. Awareness around the symptoms of bladder cancer, and awareness around the benefits of earlier detection and diagnosis. All of these things are crucial to improving outcomes, as well as equipping people with the knowledge and resources to better navigate their diagnosis alongside their clinicians. If we continue to raise awareness and are open to working together then I truly believe we can make a tangible difference to the experiences of people living with bladder cancer around the world.

Finally, I want to thank the wider oncology community who, alongside all my colleagues at Janssen who I’m proud to work alongside, are always working tirelessly to advance bladder cancer research. And not just this Bladder Cancer Awareness Month – every month of the year. There is still so much more to do, and so I’m standing with all of those affected by this disease and assuring them that I will keep up my efforts to transform bladder cancer care. Will you join me?

Biljana Naumovic

Biljana Naumovic is Janssen’s Vice President Commercial Strategy Leader for Oncology for Europe, Middle East &...
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