Bladder and kidney cancer: 'Look before you flush' urge health experts in new campaign

Catching the cancers in the early stages can dramatically increase life expectancy 

Health experts are urging the public to check for blood in their urine as part of a campaign to tackle bladder and kidney cancer.

People should tell their doctor if they have blood in the pee “even if it’s just once”, Public Health England urged.

Women in particular are warned to check their urine, as they are less likely than men to see it on a daily basis.

Each year, around 17,450 people are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer in England. Approximately 7,600 of those patients will die. 

Previous campaigns highlighting the easily identifiable symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer  prevented 70 deaths from bladder cancer, and 25 from the form of the disease affecting the kidneys, according to Public Health England.

Following a 2013 drive, there was an 18 per cent spike in people visiting their GP to report blood in their urine. 

Watch: Dr Dawn Harper narates an annimation explainer issued by Public Health England

It also caused a spike in urgent GP referrals for suspected cancers from 8.2 per cent to 22 per cent, respectively.  

When these forms of cancer are diagnosed in the earliest stages, the likelihood of surviving five years or more can be as high as 84 percent and 77 percent for the kidneys and bladder, respectively. However, the survival rate drops to around 10 per cent for both forms when it develops at a late stage.   

BBC journalist and radio presenter, and kidney cancer survivor, Nicholas Owen, commented: "I was extremely lucky because my tumour was found early. Early diagnosis saves lives, so everyone should look out for key symptoms, like blood in your pee. Don't delay, the sooner you speak to your GP, the sooner you know what you’re dealing with."

As well as blood in the urine, bladder cancer symptoms can include cystitis that is difficult to treat or recoccurs frequently

Signs of kidney cancer include a pain in the side or below the ribs doesn’t go away, as well as unexplained weight loss.

Doctor Jenny Harries, Regional Director, for South of England, Public Health England said:

"We know that people don’t always immediately visit their doctor if they spot blood in pee, which can be for a number of reasons – some might ignore the symptoms, especially if it only happens once, or may pass the symptom off as cystitis. If you do notice blood in your pee, don’t wait for it to happen again before getting it checked out, visit your GP straight away."

Comments