Many people are still not seeking medical advice soon enough when they see blood in their urine, even though almost 1 in 5 will have a urinary tract malignancy. Action on Bladder Cancer (ABC), the only UK charity dedicated purely to bladder cancer, calls for urgent awareness – even one episode of visible blood in the urine is a warning sign that should not be ignored.
Blood in the urine is a sign that you need to be seen by a GP and a specialist. Many patients are either unaware or would feel embarrassed discussing this. It may not be bladder cancer but if it is, the earlier it is caught the better the chances of successful treatment.
Even though bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 11th most common in women, findings from the ABC national survey exposed how little people in the UK know about bladder cancer. Forty-five% of the general public do not know that the main warning sign for bladder cancer is blood in the urine and only 5% of the public recognise that smoking is a main cause of bladder cancer.
ABC welcomes two reports, that add to our understanding of the current situation. The research highlights that people in the UK are more worried and embarrassed about seeing their doctor with a symptom that might be serious compared to those in other countries. The research also shows that cancer death rates in Britain are more than a third higher in men than in women, possibly due to men developing hard-to-treat cancers such as those affecting the bladder.
Bladder cancer is three times more common in men than women, however women tend to present with more advanced disease and have worse outcomes. Bladder cancer is very treatable and can be curable if diagnosed at an early stage and so any delay in a patient seeking medical advice can affect their chance of survival.
Dr Alison Birtle, Consultant Oncologist and ABC Trustee, comments, “Over 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year in the UK. Treatments have improved significantly over the last five years. UK researchers have led practice changing research in chemotherapy and radiotherapy techniques and surgical strategies. However, a lack of public awareness about symptoms can lead to people being mis-diagnosed and/or diagnosed at a later stage in the disease which can reduce the best treatment choices. It is vital that awareness of the symptoms of bladder cancer is increased to improve understanding about the disease so that people know when and where to go for help.”
Action on Bladder Cancer is working with healthcare professionals, patients, their carers and the general public, to help improve the treatment and prevention rates of bladder cancer through raising awareness, education and research. Up to date information on the disease and advice on how people can help raise awareness is available through the ABC Website.
1) TRL Griffiths on behalf of Action on Bladder Cancer. Current perspectivesin bladder cancer management. Int J Clin Pract doi:10.1111/ijcp/12075.
2) GfK NOP Survey on bladder cancer for Action on Bladder Cancer, April 2012
3) Cancer Research UK 2013. Cancer death rates over a third higher in men thanwomen.
4) UCL 2013. British ‘stiff upper lip’ may prevent early presentation for cancersymptoms.
5) Cancer Research UK, Cancer Stats Key Facts, Bladder Cancer