A national campaign has been launched to highlight the symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer as new figures show an increase in the incidence rates of kidney cancer in England.
Blood in the urine, even if it appears just once, could be a symptom of both bladder and kidney cancer.
The Be Clear on Cancer ‘Blood in Pee’ campaign emphasises that people should visit their GP if they spot the symptom.
The advice follows new figures that show more people are being diagnosed with kidney cancer and dying from the disease in England compared to 10 years ago.
Incidence rates of the disease have increased by 31 per cent over the last 10 years and mortality rates have increased by seven per cent over the last decade, with around 3,500 people dying from kidney cancer in England in 2011.
Public health experts have said they are concerned by a lack of public awareness of key symptoms of the disease.
Blood in urine is a key symptom in more than eight in 10 bladder cancers and more than half of kidney cancer patients.
Other bladder cancer symptoms include needing to urinate very often or very suddenly and pain while urinating. Other kidney cancer symptoms include a pain below the ribs that doesn’t go away and a lump in the stomach.
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “Receiving an early diagnosis increases the chance of survival for the 16,600 people who are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer every year in England.”
“It’s probably nothing serious but it could also be a sign of something else that needs treatment, so don’t ignore the symptoms or put off a trip to the doctor.”
A recent survey showed almost 30 per cent of people would wait and see if they spotted blood in their urine again before taking any action, which could delay their diagnosis and reduce their chances of survival.
When kidney cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage, one-year survival rises to as high as 92 per cent to 97 per cent, compared to only 25 to 32 per cent at a late stage.
Sara Hiom, Director of Early Diagnosis and Patient Engagement at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer Research UK fully supports the Be Clear on Cancer campaign. Raising awareness of what signs to look out for and encouraging people to see their doctor sooner rather than later if they notice something out of the ordinary is essential.
“We can and must do more to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by cancer and improve our cancer survival rates. Alongside campaigns like this, Cancer Research UK continues to fund research that will improve our understanding of the disease – research is helping us better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.”
Copyright Press Association 2013