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    • St. Luke’s Employee Promotes Bladder Cancer Awareness

St. Luke’s Employee Promotes Bladder Cancer Awareness

St. Luke’s Employee Promotes Bladder Cancer Awareness


 Ron Person

Ron Person

Bethlehem, PA (5/22/14) – When Jessica Strauss’s father Ron Person told her that he had blood in his urine, Jessica had a gut feeling that this was not just a bladder infection.  Ron met Jessica, a St. Luke’s employee, at St. Luke’s University Hospital – Bethlehem and she took him to the Emergency Room. 

Ron had brought an overnight bag with him, “just in case he needed to stay in the hospital,” said Jessica. After undergoing an emergency cystoscopy, St. Luke’s urologist Frank Tamarkin, MD, diagnosed Person with Stage IV bladder cancer.  The tumor had invaded the muscle wall of his bladder.  This was September, 2010.

Jessica had never heard of bladder cancer, and after researching the diagnosis, the family stayed positive and hopeful.   Her dad underwent surgery and completed chemotherapy to an end result of being declared “cancer free,” until three months later when the cancer returned aggressively.  Four months later in December 2011, the 61-year-old passed away peacefully at St. Luke’s Hospice House.

To help raise awareness about bladder cancer, Jessica and her family are hosting an event at 10 am on Saturday, May 24 at Hugh Moore Park (along the D&L Trail) in Easton. The event is geared toward family and will include crafts (bubble painting, coloring, loom bracelet making) and a short walk along the canal path.  Light refreshments available.  All proceeds from the event will be donated to St. Luke’s Hospice.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for bladder cancer in the United States for 2014 are:

  • About 74,690 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed (about 56,390 in men and 18,300 in women).
  • About 15,580 deaths from bladder cancer (about 11,170 in men and 4,410 in women).

Additional bladder cancer facts from the American Cancer Society:

  • The rates of new cancers and of cancer deaths have been fairly stable in men and have been dropping slightly in women in recent years.
  • More than 500,000 people in the United States are bladder cancer survivors.
  • Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people. About 9 out of 10 people with this cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73.
  • Men are about 3 to 4 times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women. Overall, the chance men will develop this cancer during their life is about 1 in 26. For women, the chance is about 1 in 90.
  • Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men.
  • Whites are diagnosed with bladder cancer almost twice as often as blacks.
  • In about half of all cases, patients are first diagnosed with bladder cancer while it is still confined to the inner layer of the bladder (non-invasive or in situ cancer). About 35% have bladder cancer that has invaded into deeper layers but is still contained in the bladder. In most of the remaining cases, the cancer has spread to nearby tissues outside the bladder. Rarely (in about 4% of cases), it has spread to distant sites.  (American Cancer Society, )
  • Smokers are more than 3 times more likely to develop bladder cancer, and those workers who have been exposed to certain industrial chemicals called “aromatic amines” are also at higher incidence.  These chemicals are commonly used in the rubber, leather, textile, paint production, printing industries.  A higher incidence is also seen among hairstylists and truck drivers.

Pennsylvania recently passed a house bill 699 recognizing the month of May as Bladder Cancer Month. Click here to view house resolution number 699

For interviews with Jessica or Dr. Frank Tamarkin, please call Denise Rader. Jessica is a resident of Wilson Borough.


Denise E. Rader
Director, Network Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

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