Intro to Radiation Cystitis:
Radiation Cystitis (also known as Irradiation Cystitis or “RC”) is a rare and serious side effect that arises from anticancer radiation therapy for pelvic malignancies including prostate, rectal, endometrial and cervical cancers. Symptoms include hematuria (urinary bleeding) and other voiding symptoms such as urinary pain and incontinence.
Patients with RC often experience variations or flares of these symptoms over time. RC can be a life threatening condition and there are no definitive treatments or cures for RC. Existing options are costly and limited. The condition represents a significant unmet medical need worldwide.
Radiation Cystitis and Public Health
Despite a growing interest in RC by both the public and medical community, the condition is not globally defined and remains under-researched.
Patients and their families suffering with this condition are in need of new therapies and support.
In the Community:
Cancer Survivor Performing Groundbreaking Research to Prevent Health Problems After Cancer
Dr. Bernadette Zwaans, PhD is conducting Radiation Cystitis (RC) research at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. As a Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar, Dr. Zwaans has become a rising star in RC research and has dedicated her career to helping cancer survivors, like her father, who are at risk of developing RC.
In March 2015, two months after earning her doctorate degree and starting her career as a Research Fellow at Beaumont Health System, Dr. Zwaans was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent successful treatment that included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “As a scientist, receiving chemo- and radiation therapy is especially difficult as I was very much aware of the damage these treatments do to your normal tissue and the severe long-term side effects they can cause.”
Dr. Zwaans understood what the long-term consequences are of the serious cancer treatments, so she is determined to reduce the burden of millions of cancer survivors through her research by finding treatments for conditions such as Radiation Cystitis. Her story inspires many in the community so we highlight this special story below: