Experts warn awareness of bladder cancer is worryingly low.
According to a recent survey from the European Association of Urology (EAU), Europe has some of the highest incidence rates of bladder cancer in the world, yet understanding of the condition is still alarmingly low. According to the poll, which looked at awareness of bladder cancer and its primary symptoms among European adults, over 60% of European people are either unfamiliar with bladder cancer or are unaware of how serious it can be.
Many do not recognize the symptoms
A change in the color of the urine or the presence of blood in the urine is generally the first indicator of bladder cancer and should prompt an emergency visit to a doctor or healthcare professional. However, more than half (55%) of those polled were unaware that a change in the color of their urine might be an early sign of bladder cancer.
An early diagnosis of bladder cancer may improve treatment results dramatically. The appearance of blood in urine is one of the most prevalent early signs of bladder cancer. According to the survey, 75% of adults do not always examine their urine for a change in color, and 22% rarely or never check their urine.
Unwillingness to seek medical advice
The new survey has also shown that adults are unwilling to seek medical advice, even if they did notice symptoms. 20% of participants said that they would wait one week or longer before speaking to a doctor or healthcare professional if they noticed a change in the color of their urine from yellow to orange, pink or red. The most common reason for not seeking medical advice was that people expected it to improve by itself.
Professor Arnulf Stenzl, Secretary General-elect of the EAU, and head of the urology department at the University Hospital in Tübingen (DE), specialized in bladder cancer: “With bladder cancer, catching it early is crucial as this results in better survival rates. Those patients diagnosed at stage 1 have an 80% chance of five-year survival, compared to 40% at stage 3. The results of our survey provide us with a very worrying message that there is an urgent need for increased public education to make them aware of bladder cancer symptoms and to talk to a specialist like a urologist. This will help to achieve earlier diagnosis and lower the mortality rates.”
The survey was funded by Astellas Pharma Europe.