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Bladder cancer patients call for action and awareness

A coalition of people affected by bladder cancer is calling for a drive to change attitudes towards bladder cancer and to increase awareness of the disease.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition revealed today that late diagnosis is one of the factors that is leading to poor outcomes for people with bladder cancer.

Worldwide, someone is diagnosed with bladder cancer every 72 seconds. In Europe, someone is diagnosed every 4 minutes, and someone dies of bladder cancer every 10 minutes.

Andrew Winterbottom, bladder cancer survivor and Treasurer of the European Cancer Patient Coalition said a change is crucial. “Patients have told us that bladder cancer cannot be neglected any longer. It is a major health problem, with chronic underfunding for research, a rise in diagnosis for women and far too many late diagnoses in general. Almost everywhere you look, there is a very low level of awareness. It is a situation that has to change.”

Urologist Professor James Catto from Sheffield University and Editor-in-Chief of European Urology Journal states that things are changing, but not quickly enough: “People do need to know what to look out for. Family doctors need to recognise that bladder cancer is a potential cause for some symptoms which they associate with other, less serious conditions - such as cystitis. Taking too long to recognise the symptoms of bladder cancer can lead to a late diagnosis and worse outcomes.”

Professor Robert Jones of the University of Glasgow said: “We need to increase awareness about symptoms and the importance of early referral if we are to catch more cancers at the stage where they can be cured.”

According to the European Cancer Patient Coalition, bladder cancer is lagging well behind other common cancers when it comes to funding research, including breast, prostate, bowel, lung and pancreatic cancers. It currently receives under 1% of cancer research funding. 

During Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, the campaign will bring an end to the neglected reputation of bladder cancer.

The top 3 symptoms associated with bladder cancer are:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Urgent and frequent urges to urinate
  • Urinary infections that do not clear up.


Throughout the month of May, a series of events across Europe will highlight the need for a greater awareness. Landmarks and buildings are being flooded in orange or yellow light. Messages, stories and photos relating to bladder cancer are being shared on social media.  ENDS


Patients, advocates and clinicians are available for interview.

For further information, please contact Rod Macrae at or +44 1491 613715


Notes to editors:

Bladder Cancer Awareness Month is a global campaign organised by the European Cancer Patient Coalition and Fight Bladder Cancer, alongside organisations across Europe, in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

About bladder cancer

  • Bladder cancer is not rare. It is the 5th most common cancer in the Western world.
  • It can affect anyone: men and women of all ages, even children.
  • In Europe there are over 150,000 new cases every year. One in Five of them will be women.
  • Worldwide there are 430,000 new cases every year.
  • It is the only ‘top 10’ cancer for which the prognosis is getting worse. In Europe 53,000 people die of bladder cancer every year.
  • Despite the toll, bladder cancer gets less than 1% of the cancer research spend.



Shine a Light It is calling on venues, buildings and other landmarks to light up orange or yellow to show their solidarity with people affected by bladder cancer during the Month of May.  

Bubbles for Bladder Cancer On May 20th people throughout the world will be Blowing Bubbles for Bladder Cancer. This will be both a personal and a group activity which will be shared on social media.

For more information about the whole campaign, please contact

About the European Cancer Patient Coalition

The European Cancer Patient Coalition aims to empower European cancer patients through the dissemination of information; foster co-operation among cancer patients' organisations through joint activities; ensure state-of-the-art cancer care practices are shared across the EU; make cancer a priority for action on the European health policy agenda; have an active role in shaping European and national healthcare policies; contribute to change or creating EU and national laws to satisfy cancer patients’ needs; call for the patients to be increased in cancer research. 


About Fight Bladder Cancer

Fight Bladder Cancer supports people with a diagnosis, raises awareness of the disease, and supports vital medical research to improve outcomes and bring about policy change.

It has over 4,000 members, including many leading urologists, oncologists, specialist nurses and researchers, making a difference on a national and international scale.



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