New cancer campaign targets us all

Be clear on cancer

The NHS and Public Health England have teamed up between July and September to highlight that blood in your pee could be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.

Every year over 19,000 new cases of bladder and kidney cancer are diagnosed in England, causing some 8,000 deaths. Both cancers affect men and women, although they are more common in men. Most people diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancers are over 50, although people of all ages can be affected.

Therefore, if you do find blood in your urine, even if it’s just the once, your GP will want to see you. Chances are, it's nothing serious, but if it is bladder or kidney cancer, seeing your doctor early could save your life. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out.

Blood in urine is a key symptom of bladder and kidney cancer, yet only 16% of those most at risk check the colour of their urine every time they go to the toilet.

The colour of blood in your urine can vary considerably. The blood can be very diluted and look light pink, but it may be also bright red like a post-box, or even dark brown like the colour of weak black tea. There could be a lot of blood visible or maybe just a little bit or you may see clots of blood in your urine.

Are there other symptoms of bladder or kidney cancer?

Blood in your urine - even if it’s just the once - could be the only sign of cancer, so don’t wait for other symptoms before speaking to your GP. Other symptoms can include:

Bladder cancer:

  • Cystitis (a urinary tract infection) that is difficult to treat or comes back quickly after treatment
  • Pain while peeing.

Kidney cancer:

  • A pain that doesn’t go away, either in the tummy or in the side below the ribs
  • Weight loss.

What else could it be?

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. See your GP now to find out for certain. Also, if you’ve been to your GP but your symptoms haven't gone away, he or she will want to know. It's important to see your GP again if your symptoms persist.

Reducing your risk

Smokers have a much higher risk of these cancers. Other things that increase your risk of getting bladder or kidney cancer include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Some jobs, because of exposure to certain chemicals
  • Other medical conditions, such as kidney failure
  • A family history of cancer.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risk of bladder or kidney cancer.

This can include:

  • Healthy eating: eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you keep a healthy body weight - important, because obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. Some foods, such as processed and red meat and food preserved with salt, can increase the risk of developing cancer, while others, such as fruit, vegetables and foods high in fibre, can reduce the risk
  • Taking regular exercise: being physically active not only helps with weight management but it also has other benefits beyond weight control and it doesn’t only reduce the risk of cancer through its effects on weight
  • Not smoking: half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including bladder cancer and kidney cancer. People who stop smoking at 60 years of age add three years to their life - it's never too late to stop.