Be Clear on Cancer initiative hopes to fight spiralling kidney cancer cases
Today will see a new public health campaign launched across the UK in an effort to raise awareness about kidney cancer after health officials have found the number of diagnoses in England to have soared by almost a third in the last 10 years. West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu and referee Dave Nixon took part in a photoshoot at the Hawthorns to promote Be Clear on Cancer initiative, and were later joined by fans and even mascot Baggie the Bird to show the new heat-sensitive urinals at the stadium. When used, they will display the words: “If you notice blood in your pee, even if it's just once, tell your doctor.” The posters will hopefully be effective at alerting fans who could be at risk of bladder and kidney cancers. Following away fixtures at Stoke City and Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion will play at home against struggling Crystal Palace on November 2 – the first game where the heat-reactive posters will be utilised. The Be Clear on Cancer campaign primarily looks to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and urging anyone with symptoms to visit their doctor immediately, before it is too late. The campaign will be advertised on TV, radio, and in print and until November 20, in the hope that thousands of lives can be saved each year. In fact, according to Cancer Research UK, an estimated 16,600 people in England are diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancers each year, resulting in 7,500 deaths. The number of deaths from kidney cancer alone has risen by 7% in the last 10 years. 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%, 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.” Singer Peter Andre, tragically lost his brother Andrew, 54, to kidney cancer last year, and is throwing his full support behind the drive to increase cancer awareness. He said: “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.” Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, there are no symptoms in the early stages of kidney cancer. Mid-to advanced-stage kidney cancer is when symptoms are usually evident such as the aforementioned blood in your urine, and you may also suffer with a constant pain underneath your ribs and have a lump in your abdomen (stomach). Visit your GP if you notice blood in your urine. It may not be kidney cancer you have – usually determined via an ultrasound scan - but the blood in your urine may be the result of a less serious condition such as kidney stone or bladder stone and these still require treatment. The exact cause(s) of kidney cancer are still unknown, but the main risk factors for developing the disease are through smoking, obesity and a family history.