Kidney cancer rates increasing in West Midlands

By on 15/10/2013 in News

New Be Clear on Cancer campaign launched to increase early diagnoses and save lives

More people are being diagnosed with kidney cancer in the West Midlands region, compared to 10 years ago according to latest figures.

Incidence rates of kidney cancer have increased by 26 per cent in the last decade and an average of 370 people die from the disease in the West Midlands region every year.

Of those diagnosed with kidney cancer in England, approximately 71 per cent will survive for at least one year, with around 54 per cent surviving for at least five years. However, the earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival - when diagnosed at the earliest stage, one-year survival is as high as 92-97 per cent compared to just 25-32 per cent at a late stage.

One of the reasons people do not receive an early diagnosis is believed to be the public's lack of awareness of key symptoms. Blood in pee - even if it appears just the once - could be a symptom of both bladder and kidney cancer. However, a recent survey shows that the public don't recognise the seriousness of the sign - almost a third (30 per cent) of people in the West Midlands would wait and see if they spotted blood in their pee again before taking any action, which could delay their diagnosis.

These figures have been released as a new NHS Be Clear on Cancer campaign launches today, to drive awareness of blood in pee as a key symptom of bladder and kidney cancers, and encourage people to visit their GP if they spot the symptom, even just the once.

Visible blood in pee is a key symptom in more than eight in ten bladder cancer cases and over half of kidney cancer patients. However, when asked to name cancer signs and symptoms, only a third (33 per cent) of people mention unexplained bleeding.

Dr Lola Abudu, consultant for Health and Wellbeing at PHE West Midlands, said: “Receiving an early diagnosis increases the chance of survival for the 16,600 people who are diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer every year in England.

“Our message is clear - as soon as you spot blood in your pee, visit the GP. It's probably nothing serious but it could also be a sign of something else that needs treatment, so check the pan on a regular basis and don't ignore the symptoms or put off a trip to the doctor. Earlier diagnosis could save your life.”

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign will see new national adverts running on TV, print and radio from today until 20 November. As well as face-to-face events taking place across England, West Bromwich Albion has thrown its support behind the campaign.

The Barclays Premier League side is piloting thermochromic urinals in their stadium to help raise awareness of blood in pee as a potential symptom of bladder and kidney cancers. Heat reactive material has been installed in urinals in the stadium’s East stand - when used, the material will turn red, revealing messaging reminding fans to look out for blood in their pee.

Dr Mark Gillet, Albion's Head of Medical Services, said: “We're keen to do everything we can to support the Be Clear on Cancer campaign and help raise awareness of blood in pee as a key symptom of bladder and kidney cancers.

“The message, we hope, is clear. If you notice blood in your pee - tell your doctor.”

As well as piloting the thermochromic urinals at the club's Premier League home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday 2 November, the club will run Be Clear on Cancer adverts in their match-day programme and stadium screens. Be Clear on Cancer event staff will hand out symptom reminder cards to fans.

Youssouf Mulumbu, West Bromwich Albion midfielder, said: “It’s great that the club is supporting this national bladder and kidney cancer campaign – I’m proud to be part of it.

“Hopefully more people will know that if they notice blood in their pee, it’s time to visit the doctor.”

Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: “Over the last ten years we have seen the incidence rate of kidney cancer increase by 31 per cent which is a substantial climb and largely down to unhealthy lifestyles. Although survival rates have been improving, this rise in cases has led to an increase in the number of deaths from the disease.

“As an increasing number of people are affected by kidney cancer, it's important that the public are aware of the early signs to look out for, such as blood in pee. Only then will we see an increase in early diagnosis rates and a further positive impact on England's survival rate. Currently, around 1,000 deaths from bladder and kidney cancer could be avoided in England each year if survival rates matched the best in Europe.”

Peter Andre, who lost his brother to kidney cancer in 2012 said: “My entire family and I were devastated when my brother Andrew died of kidney cancer last year. Getting kidney cancer diagnosed and treated earlier can save your life, which is why this Be Clear on Cancer campaign is so important. I can’t urge you enough, if you spot blood in your pee, even if it’s just the once, visit your GP as soon as possible.”

For more information on bladder and kidney cancer visit

Notes to Editors

1. The incidence rate of kidney cancer has increased by 31 per cent in England over the last ten years.

2. Public Health England's mission is to protect and improve the nation's health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. To find out more, visit our website and follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

3. The Be Clear on Cancer Blood in Pee campaign was piloted in the Tyne and Tees and Borders TV regions from January to March 2013.

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. The Government's priorities for cancer as set out in Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer (January 2011) includes the ambition to save an additional 5,000 lives per year by 2014/15.

6. Andrew Winterbottom, Chairman of Fight Bladder Cancer, said: “Blood in pee is a key symptom in over 80% of bladder cancer cases so it's important for people to look out for the sign and, if they spot it, visit their GP as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is key to survival so we welcome this new national campaign to increase the public's symptom awareness.”

7. Mr Colin Bunce, Chair of Action on Bladder Cancer (ABC) and Consultant Urologist in Barnet says: “Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK and yet still too many people are not aware of it or the warning signs. This lack of understanding can lead to people being diagnosed at a later stage and result in people dying unnecessarily as they do not receive treatment at the earliest possible stage of their cancer.

“Even though bladder cancer accounts for more than 1 in every 30 new cases of cancer each year, it is still very much in the shadows in terms of national awareness which is why ABC welcomes this new Be Clear on Cancer campaign.”

8. Pat Hanlon, Trustee at Kidney Cancer UK, said: “This Be Clear on Cancer campaign has an important role to play in increasing symptom awareness of a cancer that, in comparison to others, falls down the pecking order. However, as these new figures show, cases and deaths of kidney cancer have increased over the last ten years. So, the time has come for people to understand more about this disease and what early signs to look out for.”

9. James Whale, Chairman of the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer, the UK's leading specialist kidney cancer charity, said: “Like many kidney cancer patients, I had not been aware of any major symptoms until I noticed blood in my pee. I told my wife and she suggested that I visit the doctor but I put it off for a while.

“A short time later I received my diagnosis and, following an operation to remove my left kidney, I was in recovery. I regret not going to my GP as soon as I spotted blood in my pee but this campaign will hopefully stop others from doing the same. The earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed, the better your chance of survival.”

10. Sara Hiom, Director of Early Diagnosis and Patient Engagement at Cancer Research UK, said: “Detecting bladder and kidney cancers early and ensuring people get the best possible treatment is vital for better survival. Cancer Research UK fully supports the Be Clear on Cancer campaign. Raising awareness of what signs to look out for and encouraging people to see their doctor sooner rather than later if they notice something out of the ordinary is essential.

“We can and must do more to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by cancer and improve our cancer survival rates. Alongside campaigns like this, Cancer Research UK continues to fund research that will improve our understanding of the disease - research is helping us better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.”

11. Blood in your pee is the most common symptom for both types of cancer.

Other bladder cancer symptoms include:

  • Needing to pee very often or very suddenly
  • Pain while peeing
  • Other kidney cancer symptoms include:
  • A pain below the ribs that doesn't go away
  • A lump in your stomach

For more information on bladder and kidney cancer please visit

For more information contact PHE West Midlands press office on 0121 232 9223/4

West Midlands Blood in Pee Roadshows

Mon 28 & Tues 29 Oct Coopers Square


Dame Paulette Walk, DE14 1DQ
Wed 30 & Thurs 31 Oct Northfield


Bristol Rd, B31 2JU
Fri 1 & Sat 2 Nov Saddlers Centre


Park Mall, WS1 1YS

Fri 8 & Sat 9 Nov The Roebuck Centre


54-56 High St, ST5 1SW

Wed 13 & Thurs 14 Nov Royal Priors

Leamington Spa

The Arcade, CV32 4XT
Fri 15 & Sat 16 Nov Freeport Talke Outlet Mall


Pit Lane, ST7 1XD
Tues 19 & Wed 20 Nov Mander Centre


Mander House, WV1 3NH
Tues 19 & Wed 20 Nov Riverside


WR11 4RD
Thurs 21 & Fri 22 Nov Cathedral Lanes


Thurs 21 & Fri 22 Nov The Maylord


The Atrium, HR1 2DT

Tags: , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.