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Be Clear on Cancer: Blood in pee

The Blood in Pee campaign is asking us all to be aware that blood in pee might be a symptom of kidney or bladder cancer.  

The advice is to tell your doctor if you notice blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’. This is the main symptom of bladder cancer and is also common in kidney cancer. The earlier it’s found, the quicker it can be treated and the more likely it will be cured.

Around 8,000 people die from bladder or kidney cancer each year in the UK, but this needn’t be the case. Knowing what to look out for saves lives.

Remember to look before you flush the toilet. Blood in pee is never normal and it should be checked out, especially if it has never been investigated before. It might not be serious but sometimes it is a sign of cancer and, if that’s the case, it’s best to find it early on.

When bladder or kidney cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than eight in ten people will survive for five years or more. This falls to around one in ten people when it is diagnosed at the latest stage. Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, 36% of cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed at a stage 3 or 4, which means the cancer is relatively advanced; 16% of bladder cancers are also diagnosed at a late stage. We want to see more cancers diagnosed sooner.

Bladder and kidney cancers can affect people of all ages but are most common in people over 50. They are in the top ten most common cancers, affecting around 19,100 people in England each year. Both types can affect men and women, although they are more common in men.

You are at a greater risk of developing bladder or kidney cancer if you smoke, are overweight, have certain other medical conditions such as kidney failure, or if you have a family history of cancer.

As well as blood in pee, other bladder cancer symptoms include pain when peeing and Cystitis (a urinary tract infection) that is difficult to treat or comes back quickly after treatment. Symptoms of kidney cancer include weight loss and a pain that doesn’t go away, either in the tummy or in the side below the ribs.

Some symptoms may be caused by an infection or bladder or kidney stones, all of which may need treatment. But don’t try and diagnose yourself. Go and see your doctor to find out for sure. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out. Whatever the problem, your doctor is there to help.

There is  more information about kidney and bladder cancer, including videos, here: www.nhs.uk/bloodinpee

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