Around three million people in the UK have kidney disease

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Be Clear on Cancer campaign urges public to check urine for blood

Only 16 per cent of those most at risk of bladder and kidney cancer check for vital signs of blood in wee as new campaign encourages public to 'look before they flush'.

Public Health England (PHE) is launching a national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign which highlights blood in wee as a key symptom of bladder and kidney cancers. The campaign will encourage everyone to ‘look before they flush’ and visit their GP without delay if they notice blood in their pee, even if it’s just once.

A new survey reveals that only 16 per cent of adults aged 50 and over in England (those most at risk of these cancers) say they check the colour of their pee every time they go to the toilet, with women being less likely to check every time (12 per cent versus 20 per cent of men).

Professor Chris Harrison, NHS England’s national clinical director for cancer, said: “The earlier people are diagnosed, the better their chances, which is why it is vital people understand what to look out for and when to visit the GP. This campaign has the important aim of helping raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer and encouraging people to visit their GP after seeing blood in their pee.”

A new short film featuring TV doctor Dr Dawn Harper is being released as part of the campaign. The film shows what to look out for as the colour of blood in your pee can vary – from very diluted to bright red or even dark brown, like the colour of weak black tea. Blood in pee is a symptom in almost two thirds (64 per cent) of all bladder cancers and around a fifth (18 per cent) of kidney cancers.

Blood might not appear every time, so it is important that people seek medical help even if they notice it just once. Worryingly, around half (47 per cent) of those surveyed said they would not seek medical advice if they saw blood in their pee just once, with 45% saying they would wait and see if it happened again, potentially putting off a vital diagnosis.

When asked why they would not go to the GP straight away, one in five (20 per cent) say they would be worried about wasting the GP’s time and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) would only book an appointment sooner if they had other symptoms.

Latest figures show that every year in England around 19,100 people are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer and around 8,000 people die from these diseases. Early diagnosis is critical; 84 per cent of those diagnosed with kidney cancer and 77 per cent of those diagnosed with bladder cancer at the earliest stage (stage one) will live for at least five years. At a late stage (stage four), this drops to 10 per cent and nine per cent respectively.

The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ ‘Blood in Pee’ campaign runs until September 23 and includes advertising on TV, radio and in public toilets and online. For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer, search ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ or visit our blood in urine page ot take our kidney health check.