'Be on alert for bladder cancer' women advised

A cancerous bladder (the white area) Image copyright ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image caption Bladder cancer is linked to smoking because carcinogens accumulate in the urine

Bladder cancer is being missed in women because the symptoms are so similar to a urine infection, warn experts.

Public Health England says women should take heed and visit their GP if they have blood in their urine or pain while passing water.

While most cases will not be cancer, it is a diagnosis that is easy to miss.

It partly explains why in England, 77% of men with bladder cancer survive for a year after diagnosis, compared to 64% of women, they say.

Although more men than women get bladder cancer, women tend to fare worse.

Data presented at PHE's Cancer Outcomes Conference in Belfast show women are more likely have their cancer diagnosed later - and often as an emergency.

They are also at higher risk of having rarer and more aggressive types of tumour.

And so PHE wants women to be more vigilant.

Checking before you flush is just one simple way to stay alert to the warning signs, they have told BBC Five Live.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of early diagnosis, said: "It can be tempting to put a new symptom down to an innocent cause, or wait for it to happen a few times before seeking help.

"But some signs, such as blood in pee, need to be acted on promptly, by both patients and doctors, even if it just happens the once. Being quicker to spot and act on the signs of bladder cancer and ensuring that women receive the right care and treatment is vital if more women are going to survive this disease."

In 2013 nearly 2,500 women in England were diagnosed with bladder cancer. In the same year, around 1,500 died from the disease.

Smoking is the single biggest risk factor for developing bladder cancer. Occupational exposure to certain chemicals - such as some hair dyes - can also increase a person's risk.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites