Could I have bladder cancer?

 – Simon Woodhams, Consultant Urologist 

Bladder cancer can be serious, so early detection is really important. Seeking expert advice is often the best course of action. If you are concerned, you should either see your GP or – if you would prefer a private healthcare route – book a video appointment with a specialist here at Clarity. It could be a life-saver. We can assess your symptoms, evaluate your condition, and recommend further action where needed, including providing a referral. We are here to help.

How common is bladder cancer?

May is bladder cancer awareness month. Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK – roughly 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year.

Artist Tracey Emin’s recent battle with bladder cancer has brought new attention to the condition after she revealed her diagnosis in the media last October. She is fortunately now clear of cancer; in her own words – ‘the happiest I’ve ever been’. However, she has had to adjust to life with a urostomy bag which has replaced her urinary system. Her refreshingly outspoken approach to sharing her treatment will inspire people to seek diagnosis earlier, and will hopefully save many lives. 

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse, speaking to The Guardian, said: ‘Raising awareness of bladder cancer is incredibly important as we know that detecting and diagnosing cancer earlier means it’s often easier to treat, offering the single biggest opportunity to save more lives.’

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

You may have bladder cancer if you have:

  • Blood in your urine
  • A frequent and urgent need to pee (throughout the day or during the night, especially if you are regularly woken by a need to pee)
  • Pain (particularly a burning sensation) when urinating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain

How at risk am I?

You may be at greater risk of bladder cancer if:

  • Someone in your family has had bladder cancer.
  • You are/were a smoker. Smoking is estimated to be a cause in 1 of every 3 cases, with smokers being up to four times as likely to develop bladder cancer as non-smokers.
  • You have been exposed to harmful chemicals at work (such as plastics, paints, textiles, leather, and/or rubber).
  • You have been exposed to radiation (for example, as part of radiotherapy for another cancer in the pelvic region).

Where there is concern, an appointment with a specialist consultant can help assess your risk level, based on genetic and environmental factors. You can book a video appointment with a specialist consultant in minutes using our appointment finder. Simply search using the term bladder cancer or urology and find an appointment that suits you.