Cancer campaign launched to combat ‘worrying’ figures
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A new campaign is urging people to look out for blood in their urine after hundreds of people were diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer over the past five years.
Figures released by Public Health England (PHE) show an average of 1,660 people were diagnosed with the condition in North Somerset and Somerset during the period 2012-2016.
Of those diagnosed, 665 died each year on average across the two areas.
Pat Nicholls, aged 78, is a retired teacher from Burnham who discovered blood in her urine while Christmas shopping in December 2015.
After sending off a sample further checks were carried out and she was diagnosed with an early stage superficial bladder tumour which was removed in January 2016.
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Pat said: “The treatment and care I have had have been excellent.
“I was lucky I discovered the blood in my pee so quickly.
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“I use coloured toilet blocks at home, so it might have been there before, I just didn’t notice it and I had no other symptoms to indicate something might be wrong.
“A friend of mine was diagnosed with bladder cancer a few years before I was, and she talked quite openly about it, so I did not fear it and the treatment as much as I might have for another cancer.
“I now talk about my experience and urge everyone to look before they flush, and if they do notice anything to see their GP as soon as possible.”
The figures also show around 19,000 people are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer every year in England, with around 8,000 of those people dying as a result.
To raise awareness, PHE has launched a new Be Clear On Cancer campaign.
It is encouraging people to look out for any red or dark brown colouring in urine as it could be a symptom of cancer.
Debbie Stark, deputy director for healthcare at PHE, said: “The South West statistics are worrying and show that not only are over 50s not checking their pee after going to the toilet, 44 per cent would not seek advice if they saw blood in their pee just once.
“We know that if bladder and kidney cancers are picked up early, people are more likely to have better outcomes and ultimately that saves lives.