Checking the Colour of Your Urine Before Flushing Can Help Detect Bladder Disease

People with bladder cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with bladder cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine.
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night.
  • Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to pass body.
  • Lower back pain on 1 side of the body.


Most often, bladder cancer is diagnosed after a person tells his or her doctor about blood in the urine, also called hematuria. Gross hematuria means that enough blood is present in the urine that the patient can see it. It is also possible that there are small amounts of blood in the urine that cannot be seen. This is called microscopic hematuria, and it can only be found with a urine test.

General urine tests are not used to make a specific diagnosis of bladder cancer because hematuria can be a sign of several other conditions that are not cancer, such as an infection or kidney stones. One type of urine test that can find out whether there is cancer is cytology, a test in which the urine is studied under a microscope to look for cancer cells.




Sometimes when the first symptoms of bladder cancer appear, the cancer has already spread to another part of the body. In this situation, the symptoms depend on where the cancer has spread.


What Medical Experts Expect From You

A new campaign by Public Health England has advised that it is important for people, especially those above 50, to check the colour of their urine before flushing. The campaign launched recently said that the colour of the urine could give a sign to detect bladder cancer.

The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign launched by Public Health England  educates people about the signs of bladder and kidney cancer and encourages them to check their urine every time. Medical experts say it is ‘vital’ people recognise early symptoms so that cancer can be diagnosed sooner when it is less serious and easier to treat.

“Millions of adults are not properly checking for blood in their urine and could be missing early warning signs of cancer,” according to health officials. The report said only 16 per cent of over-50s, who are most at risk of the bladder and kidney cancers, check every time they use the toilet. Women are most guilty – with only 12 per cent regularly checking the colour of their urine – whereas only one in five men check theirs.

Public Health England’s campaign urges people to ‘look before they flush’ and tell their doctor if they notice a reddish or pink hue – even once. Red or pink urine could be harmless and can be caused by food like beetroot or a new medicine, but it can also be a sign of life-threatening disease.

‘It is vital people know blood in pee could be a sign of cancer,’ said Professor Julia Verne, from Public Health England (PHE). ‘Our research shows only a small number of people check the colour of their pee every time they go to the toilet. People need to get into the habit of looking before they flush to spot any signs of blood in their pee; And if there is blood, they shouldn’t hesitate about going to their GP.

The appearance of blood in urine can vary but will always be reddish – from very diluted and pale to bright red or even dark brown, like weak black tea. Blood in urine is a symptom in almost two thirds of all bladder cancers and around a fifth of kidney cancers.

Experts said that blood might not appear every time so it’s important people seek medical help even if it only happens once, experts say.

Professor Chris Harrison, NHS England’s national clinical director for cancer, said: ‘The earlier people are diagnosed, the better their chances, which is why it is vital people understand what to look out for and when to visit the GP.

‘This campaign has the important aim of helping raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer and encouraging people to visit their GP after seeing blood in their pee.’


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