Health chiefs urge over 50s in South Tyneside to check signs of deadly cancers

Health chiefs are calling on more over people over the age of 50 in South Tyneside to check their urine in order to spot the signs of cancers which kill on average almost 30 people in the borough each year.
Professor Chris Gray, Medical Director at NHS England North East.Professor Chris Gray, Medical Director at NHS England North East.
Professor Chris Gray, Medical Director at NHS England North East.

Public Health England has launched its new ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign in the North East to highlight blood in urine 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.

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Figures show that there were on average 69 registered cases per year in South Tyneside of bladder and kidney cancer between 2012 and 2016.

And on average 28 people in the borough died each year due to either condition.

A new survey reveals that only 18% of adults aged 50 and over, who are those most at risk of these cancers, in the North East say they check the colour of their pee every time they go to the toilet.

If people don’t look before they flush, they may not notice blood in their pee.

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A new short film featuring TV doctor, Dr Dawn Harper, is being released as part of the campaign.

Blood might not appear every time, so it is important that people seek medical help even if they notice it just once.

Worryingly, around 44% of those surveyed in the North East said they would not seek medical advice if they saw blood in their pee just once, and 40% of those surveyed said they would wait and see if it happened again, potentially putting off a vital diagnosis.

Latest figures show that every year in England around 19,100 people are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer and sadly, around 8,000 people die from these diseases.

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Early diagnosis is critical; 84% of those diagnosed with kidney cancer and 77% of those diagnosed with bladder cancer at the earliest stage will live for at least five years.

Professor Chris Gray, Medical Director at NHS England North East, 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.”

Dr Harper said: “If you do notice blood in your pee, it’s probably nothing serious, but it’s always worth checking with a health professional – you won’t be wasting their time.

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“It’s vital that people don’t put off getting help; if it is cancer, early diagnosis saves lives.”

The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ ‘Blood in Pee’ campaign runs until September 23 and includes advertising on TV, radio and in washrooms and online.

For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer, search ‘Be Clear on Cancer’.