Bladder cancer – we know more, but still not enough…

Health Uncategorized

Action on Bladder Cancer (ABC) releases findings from a new National survey* exposing how little the general public knows about bladder cancer.

Awareness around the main warning sign for bladder cancer – blood in the urine – is gradually increasing (50% in 2010 rising to 55% in 2012), but still only 5% of the public recognise that smoking is a main cause of bladder cancer. Over 10,000 people are diagnosed every year in the UK** and ABC, the only UK charity dedicated to bladder cancer, wants to encourage more people to understand how to recognise the warning signs and consult their doctor if they are concerned. Up to date information on the disease and advice on how people can help raise awareness is available through the ABC website ( The work of ABC supports the Be Clear on Cancer Campaign run by the Department of Health as well as Bladder Cancer Awareness Day which is organised out of the US (this year on May5th).

Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 11th most common in women**. Across different areas of health, women are traditionally better informed. Yet, in the case of bladder cancer, one quarter (25%) of both men and women wouldn’t know what a sign of possible bladder cancer might be. Over half of survey respondents have no idea what causes it. One in five people think it is caused by drinking too much alcohol rather than citing the most common cause of smoking. The main area where public awareness has increased over the last two years is around treatment options. More people recognise chemotherapy (32% in 2010 versus 38% in 2012) and radiotherapy (12% in 2010 versus 24% in 2012) as possible treatment approaches for bladder cancer.

Mr Colin Bunce, Chair of ABC and Consultant Urologist in Barnet says: “We don’t expect everyone to be an expert, but such a huge lack of understanding can lead to people being mis-diagnosed and/or diagnosed at a later stage in the disease which can narrow down the best treatment choices. Over the last 15-20 years bladder cancer has been in the shadows. Greater public attention is urgently needed to improve understanding about the disease so that people know when and where to go for help. We also need to help people take steps to reduce their risk of getting the cancer in the first place, such as giving up smoking.”

Dr Mary Archer, who has been affected by bladder cancer, supports the work of Action on Bladder Cancer: “If you notice blood in your urine, you should consult your GP as soon as possible. It may not be bladder cancer, but if it is, the earlier it is caught the better the chances of successful treatment”, comments Dr Archer. “Blood in the urine is a sign that you need to be seen by a GP and a specialist urgently.”

ABC is working with healthcare professionals, patients, their carers and the general public, to help improve the treatment and prevention rates of bladder cancer through raising awareness, education and research.

Mr Tony Kirkbank, Trustee of ABC and a Service User, says: “The profile of bladder cancer and, as a result, the care of patients can be significantly improved by asking the public and healthcare professionals and providers to become involved in our dedicated advocacy group, ABC ( – we want to work together”.


*GfK NOP Survey on bladder cancer for Action on Bladder Cancer, April 2012

**Cancer Research UK, Cancer Stats Key Facts, Bladder Cancer

Survey Technical Details:

GfK NOP conducted a nationally representative face-to-face omnibus survey amongst 2055 adults aged 16+ in 2010. In 2012 Gfk NOP commissioned TNS Research to conduct a face-to-face omnibus survey amongst 1015 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain.
Weighting was applied to the data in both surveys to ensure it matched known population profiles.