New campaign to thwart cancers before it’s too late

Ian Lavendar
Ian Lavendar

THE Be Clear on Cancer campaign returns to Wigan today with the aim of raising awareness of a key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers: blood in pee.

Latest figures show that in the North West around 2,540 people are diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancer each year, with around 1,630 men and 910 women affected.

Data also reveals that approximately 1,035 people in the North West die from these cancers annually.

Jane Rossini, deputy centre director of Public Health England North West, said: “Blood in pee is a key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers. Looking before you flush can save your life as these cancers are more treatable if found early. If you notice blood in your pee, even once, tell your GP.”

The campaign is aimed at men and women aged 50 and over, as between 90 to 97 per cent of bladder and kidney cancer diagnoses are in people in this age group.

It encourages anyone who notices blood in their pee, even if it’s “just the once,” to visit their GP to get it checked out. Given that people may not spot blood in their pee unless they check, this year’s campaign also promotes a “look before you flush” message, particularly to women, who may be less likely to do so.

BBC journalist and radio presenter, and kidney cancer survivor, Nicholas Owen, said: “I was extremely lucky because my tumour was found early. Early diagnosis saves lives, so everyone should look out for key symptoms, like blood in your pee. Don’t delay, the sooner you speak to your GP, the sooner you know what you’re dealing with.”

Ian Lavender, actor and star of Dad’s Army who is a bladder cancer survivor, said: “I’m supporting this year’s ‘Blood in pee’ campaign as a survivor of bladder cancer. It’s a simple message ‘look before you flush’ and make sure you go and see your GP if you notice blood in your pee.

“Spread the word, someone you know might have this symptom and reminding them to get it checked could save their life - it saved mine, and I’m 70 and still happy to be working.”

Media medic Dr Rosemary Leonard said: “We know that people are concerned about wasting their GP’s time. But, if you have had blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’, you must see your GP to get it checked out. It can be a symptom of many other conditions, and though many of these are not that serious, such as cystitis, even that should be checked out by a doctor, as it can be a sign of cancer.

“So it’s really important that if you notice anything unusual that you come in and see us. We want to see you! You aren’t wasting our time, it could save your life.”

The nationwide Be Clear on Cancer ‘blood in pee’ campaign begins today and runs for six weeks.

For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer, please visit nhs.uk/bloodinpee