●» DR Mike Clark, GP with High Street Surgery, Macclesfield, and NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical lead for urology
I want to use this week’s Health Matters column to ask readers to consider a topic many of us don’t like to think about: blood in pee.
Finding blood in your urine can be very frightening, but it’s usually not a sign of anything life-threatening and can often be put down to a kidney infection or a bladder infection, such as cystitis.
However, it’s also a key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers, so you should always see a GP if you do notice blood in your pee, even if it’s just to put your mind at rest.
Last year, 41 people in Eastern Cheshire were diagnosed with bladder cancer, while 21 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer. And although this may not seem like many people, by raising awareness we can bring these numbers down even further.
Indeed, for those diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1) the likelihood of surviving five years or more can be as high as 84 per cent for kidney cancer and 77 per cent for bladder cancer.
But, for those diagnosed at a late stage (stage 4), survival is as low as 10 per cent for kidney cancer and nine per cent for bladder cancer.
That’s why Public Health England is currently running the ‘Be Clear On Cancer: Blood in pee’ campaign, as early detection can greatly improve life expectancy and spotting signs like blood in pee is crucial to this. To support the campaign, there will be a ‘blood in pee’ roadshow at the Grosvenor Centre, Macclesfield, on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 March, when residents will get the chance to speak with health professionals and learn more about what signs to look out for.
The CCG has made diagnosing cancer early one of our key commissioning intentions for 2016 and public support for campaigns such as this one is crucial to helping us achieve this.
For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer, visit nhs.uk/bloodinpee.