Urology cancers in women
The early symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer may be harder to detect in women than in men, a recent study suggests.
The study from the journal BMJ Open revealed that women in the UK diagnosed with kidney or bladder cancer were twice as likely as men to have visited their GP three or more times before they were referred to a specialist.
This is probably because the symptoms associated with benign conditions such as urinary tract infection (cystitis) can be similar, and UTI/cystitis is much more common in women than men. Men rarely get UTIs, so it is easier to establish that blood in the urine is related to something other than a UTI.
The principal trigger for referral is blood in the urine, detected on a urine test. The difficulty is that blood is often present when the patient has a UTI, and in this setting, blood does not necessarily indicate anything sinister. If blood persists after an infection is treated, further investigation may be needed.
If a UTI is present along with blood in the urine (on a lab test), the UTI should be treated, and the urine re-tested after treatment. If blood is still present, a urological referral is usually made.
If you actually see blood in your urine at any time, you must let your GP know straight away.
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