North Yorkshire County Council is urging people to be aware of the early signs of bladder and kidney cancers and to go to their doctor if they see blood in their pee – even if it’s just the once.
‘Blood in pee’ is part of the national Be Clear on Cancer (BCOC) campaign from Public Health England in partnership with the Department of Health, NHS England and Cancer Research UK. Around 300 people in North Yorkshire are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer each year and approximately 120 people die.
Bladder and kidney cancers can affect people of all ages, but the risk of these cancers increases as people get older and are most common in those over 50. Blood in pee is a key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancer. Other bladder cancer symptoms include a urinary tract infection (cystitis) that is difficult to treat or comes back quickly after treatment and pain when peeing. Other kidney cancer symptoms include a pain in the side below the ribs that doesn’t go away, and weight loss.
County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “The aim of Be Clear on Cancer campaigns is to increase public awareness of key cancer symptoms and to encourage people with those symptoms to see their GP early. This new campaign stresses how important it is if you notice blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’, to tell your doctor straight away.
“Blood in pee is a key symptom of both bladder and kidney cancers. The chances are it’s nothing serious, but these cancers are more treatable if they are found early.
“The campaign also asks people to look before they flush the toilet – and to go to see their GP if they notice blood in their pee. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out. And if you’ve been to the doctor but your symptoms haven’t gone away, go back – they’ll want to know and early diagnosis and treatment could save your life.”
Dr Dan Cottingham, a GP and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Cancer Lead, said: “As a GP in the Vale of York I would encourage anyone who sees blood in their urine, even if only once, to see their GP straight away, as it could be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
“Don’t be embarrassed to seek medical help or assume it’s nothing to worry about - the only way to be sure it isn’t cancer or any other serious condition is to get your symptoms checked. It takes 10-15 minutes to see your GP to start this process and, if you do have cancer, your chances of long-term survival are greatly enhanced if you are diagnosed early.
“One-year survival is as high as 91% to 95% when bladder and kidney cancers are detected at the earliest stage (stage one), but the rate falls to just 27% to 37% in late-stage diagnosis (stage four).”
Dr Jenni Lawrence said: “As a GP in the Scarborough and Ryedale District, I’ve been involved in work to improve early diagnosis rates for bladder and kidney cancers. An important part of this is our blood in pee one stop clinic in Malton. Patients just have to see their GP to get a referral, and then go along to the clinic where they can receive all the tests needed in one place - and get an answer quickly.”
Dr Bruce Willoughby said, “As a GP in the Harrogate and Rural District, I see hundreds of patients a year with potential cancer symptoms. The best way I can help them is to make sure they’re diagnosed promptly; the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of long-term survival. In fact, if bladder and kidney cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage, one-year survival is as high as 91 to 95 per cent whereas late stage diagnosis drops to just 27 to 37 per cent.
“That’s why a Be Clear of Cancer campaign like ‘blood in pee’ is so important. It makes people aware of the symptoms they should be looking out for that can indicate bladder or kidney cancer. It also encourages them to talk to their doctor without delay, even if they only see blood in their urine once. So if you have noticed blood in your pee, get your symptoms checked out – you’re not wasting anyone’s time, your doctor really will want to know.”
For more information, please go to nhs.uk/bloodinpee