Home News & Events News BLOG: May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Do you know the most common symptom of bladder cancer?

No? Well, this month is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, when cancer organisations around the world will be helping people find out more about symptoms of the disease, and how to access support.

So, what exactly is bladder cancer and who’s most at risk?

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men in the UK and the seventh most common overall. There are different kinds, but the most common is urothelial bladder cancer, also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This starts in the lining of the bladder. It can affect anyone of any age, male or female, but it’s more common in men over 60. It’s also more likely if you smoke (smoking is thought to be responsible for around 40% of bladder cancers). And, you’re also more likely to be affected if you come into contact with certain chemicals in your workplace, or you’ve been exposed to radiation in the past.

And the most common symptom?

The most common symptom to look out for is blood in your urine, even just a small amount. It might come and go, and it’s often painless. It might happen only once, then go away, but you should still get it checked out by your GP as soon as possible. Less common symptoms include needing to pee more often, having a sudden need to go, and/or having pain or discomfort when you do.

The symptoms of bladder cancer are, in some cases, similar to those of a urinary tract infection (UTI), so your GP will usually start by carrying out a urine test. If it is a UTI, you’ll typically need a course of antibiotics which should sort it out. But if there’s no sign of infection, or your symptoms carry on for several weeks, your GP may arrange for you to have some other tests to check for bladder cancer. They might refer you to a urologist (a specialist in urinary, bladder and kidney conditions). Tests include a CT scan (a series of X-rays that create a 3D picture) which checks for cancer near the bladder or other parts of the body.

Why do we need to be more aware?

Bladder cancer isn’t rare. But, due to lack of awareness, many people don’t know what to look for, meaning the early signs can be missed. Bladder Cancer Awareness Month aims to call public attention to the disease so it can be diagnosed and treated earlier, improving the chances of a better outcome. The campaign is also targeting healthcare professionals and governments to encourage more investment in research and new treatments.

So here are our top tips:

  • If you have blood in your urine, book an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your GP. Tell them about any family history of bladder or kidney cancer
  • If you have repeated UTIs, it can be a symptom of bladder cancer. It’s OK to ask a GP for a second opinion, especially if you’re over 45
  • Before your appointment, write down any symptoms you’ve had, along with any questions or concerns
  • If your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks, talk to your GP again, even if your urine test was negative. And if you’re still worried, it’s OK to ask to be referred to a consultant
  • Spread the word about bladder cancer among family and friends to help raise awareness. You can find local support groups and the latest information at Action Bladder Cancer UK

If you would like advice on the bladder cancer treatments provided at the Rutherford Cancer Centres, please contact us.

Contact Us

Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Our Trusted Healthcare Partners