Following the re-launch on the 15 February of Public Health England’s ‘Blood in Pee’ campaign, NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG are once again fully supporting this highly successful work.
The national campaign which aims to raise awareness of ‘blood in pee’ as a symptom of bladder and kidney cancers will run from the 15 February to 31 March. It wants people to go to their doctor if they notice blood in their pee (urine), even if they only see it once. The chances are it’s nothing serious, but if it is cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable.
If bladder and kidney cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage, one-year survival is as high as 92–96%. At a late stage however, it drops to just 27–37%.
Dr Neil Smith, Macmillan GP for both NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire CCGs, said: “If you notice blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’, tell your doctor. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out. If you’ve been to the doctor but your symptoms haven’t gone away, please go back – they’ll want to know. It is important to note though that having blood in your urine doesn’t mean you definitely have bladder cancer. It could be something as common as a urinary tract infection, such as cystitis, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate gland (men).
“Knowing what signs to look for and going to your GP as soon as possible, can make a life-saving difference as bladder and kidney cancers are more treatable if found early.”
Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder’s cells over many years. Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it’s estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking. Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.
Blood in your urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and is usually painless. You may notice streaks of blood in your urine or the blood may turn your urine brown. The blood isn’t always noticeable and it may come and go.
Less common symptoms of bladder cancer include a need to urinate on a more frequent basis, sudden urges to urinate and a burning sensation when passing urine.
Whilst bladder and kidney cancer can affect anyone, they are more common in people over the age of 50, especially men.
Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in adults in the UK, with just over 10,100 people diagnosed each year. Again, one of the signs of kidney cancer can include blood in your urine. Other symptoms may include a constant pain in your side, just below the ribs, and a lump or swelling in the kidney area (on either side of the body).
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your GP as soon as possible. In around half of all cases of kidney cancer there are no symptoms, and the condition is detected during tests for other unrelated conditions.
More information about bladder and kidney cancer can be found on NHS Choices www.nhs.uk