Successful Be Clear on Cancer campaign returns to the North West to raise awareness of blood in pee as a key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers
Be Clear on Cancer campaign launches in the North West to increase vital awareness that blood in pee is a key symptom of bladder or kidney cancer
Findings from previous campaigns show more people being aware of symptoms to look out for and being prompted to visit their GP
Around 1,035 people die every year from bladder or kidney cancer in the North West1
Early diagnosis of bladder and kidney cancers increase the chance of survival
Today, Public Health England’s ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign returns to the North West 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.1
Nationally, around 17,450 people in England are diagnosed with either bladder or kidney cancer every year1 and blood in pee is a symptom in over half (53%) of bladder cancers and almost a fifth of kidney cancers,2 so being aware of this is crucial.
Early diagnosis of bladder and kidney cancer increases the chances of survival. For those diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1) the likelihood of surviving five years or more can be as high as 84% for kidney cancer and 77% for bladder cancer. However, for those diagnosed
1 Incidence and mortality data supplied by Public Health England based on the National Cancer Registration Service dataset
2 Shephard, E.A., Stapley, S., Neal, R.D., Rose, P., Walter, F.M and Hamilton, W.T. (2012) Clinical features of bladder cancer in primary care. The British Journal of General Practice. 62 (602), pp598-604 and Shephard, E.A., Neal, R.D., Rose, P., Walter, F.M and Hamilton, W.T. (2012) Clinical features of kidney cancer in primary care: a case-control study using primary care records. The British Journal of General Practice. 63 (609), pp250-255
at a late stage (stage 4), survival is as low as 10% for kidney cancer and 9% for bladder
The Be Clear on Cancer ‘blood in pee’ campaign ran nationally in 2013 and 2014.
Analysis of diagnoses during the 2013 campaign period shows a statistically significant
increase in the number of bladder and kidney cancers diagnosed at pre-cancerous and early
stage and a reduction in late stage diagnoses for bladder cancer. This early detection has
been equated to the prevention of around 70 bladder cancer deaths and about 25 kidney
cancer deaths.3 Whilst it is not possible to link these findings to the campaign in isolation, the
findings suggest that it is highly likely that the campaign has made an impact.
Jane Rossini, Deputy Centre Director, 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 - 97% of
bladder and kidney cancer diagnoses are in people in this age group.1 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,
"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, comments:
“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
3 Data supplied by Public Health England.
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 will begin on Tuesday 16 February and run for six weeks. For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer, please visit nhs.uk/bloodinpee
Notes to Editors
1. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Website: www.gov.uk/phe. Twitter: @PHE_uk, Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland
2. Be Clear on Cancer campaigns are run by Public Health England in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS England. 3. Interview opportunities with a North West-based urologist and kidney and bladder cancer survivors are available upon request. A video clip of this urologist and a cancer survivor also available.
4. The Be Clear on Cancer campaign is part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, run in partnership with Cancer Research UK, to improve England’s cancer survival rates.
5. Pictures of celebrity supporters, Ian Lavender (bladder cancer survivor) and Nicholas Owen (kidney cancer survivor) are available in the following dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/swnum00wxqi8nic/AABMwlWqXbycPdd4jYCFbuMga?dl=0
6. The campaign includes national TV, radio, digital and out of home advertising (posters in public washrooms) together with face to face events in venues such as shopping centres.
7. Three local pilots initially tested the ‘blood in pee’ campaign in early 2012. This was followed by a regional pilot from January to March 2013. The campaign went national, across England, for the first time in October 2013 and was repeated the following October.
8. Results from the first national ‘blood in pee’ campaign in 2013 showed that the number of bladder, kidney and urological cancer diagnoses resulting from an urgent GP referral for suspected urological cancers increased by 8.2%, 22% and 14% respectively in October to December 2013, compared to the same months in 2012.4
9. Results from the ‘blood in pee’ activity to date indicate that Be Clear on Cancer is successfully changing levels of public awareness. There are also early indications that clinical outcomes are improving too. Following the second national campaign:
4 Data supplied by Public Health England using NHS England’s Cancer Waiting Times database
a. Six in 10 of those aware of the cancer advertising spontaneously mentioned ‘blood in pee’ as a cancer symptom (62% up from 31% pre campaign)5,*
b. There was a 34% increase in the number of urgent GP referrals for suspected urological cancers when comparing October – December 2014 with October – December 20124,*,†
10. Blood in your pee is a key symptom of both bladder and kidney cancers.
Other bladder cancer symptoms include:
a. Cystitis (a urinary tract infection) that is difficult to treat or comes back quickly after treatment
b. Pain when peeing
Other kidney cancer symptoms include:
a. A pain in the side, below the ribs, that doesn’t go away
b. Weight loss
11. Additional bladder and kidney cancer facts:
a. Smokers have a much higher risk of these cancers. Other things that increase the risk of bladder and/or kidney cancer include:
i. Being overweight or obese
ii. Some jobs, because of exposure to certain chemicals
iii. Other medical conditions, such as kidney failure
iv. A family history of cancer
Public Health England Press Office – North West
Tel: 0344 225 0562 – option 5 (includes out of hours)
* The result is statistically significant
† Pathway covers several cancer types in addition to bladder and kidney cancers
5 TNS BMRB on behalf of Public Health England. Be clear on Cancer Bladder and Kidney Cancer Blood in Pee National Campaign, Evaluation Phase 2. (680 face to face interviews conducted by TNS BMRB between 26th November and 14th December 2014