Women with kidney, bladder cancers are not promptly diagnosed

As many as 700 women in England with symptoms of kidney or bladder cancer are not receiving prompt diagnosis and treatment of their condition every year, according to a study published online on June 24 in BMJ Open.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. believe the finding is due to family doctors attributing the women's initial symptoms to harmless causes, such as bacterial infections. Some women, therefore, have to visit their general practitioner several times before they are referred to a specialist.

Currently, survival rates for kidney and bladder cancer in England show that fewer women than men live for five years after diagnosis, according to the researchers.

The study, led by Dr. Georgios Lyratzopoulos, reviewed the number of patients diagnosed with kidney and bladder cancers in England between 2009 and 2010 using data from the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care, which included 1,170 general practices or about 14% of the national total.

In all, 252 (27%) of the 920 patients diagnosed with bladder cancer during the study period were women; 165 (42%) of the 398 people diagnosed with kidney cancer were women.

Women with bladder cancer (27%) were approximately twice as likely as men (11%) to visit their general practitioner three or more times before they were referred to a specialist. The equivalent figures for kidney cancer were 30% and 18%, respectively.

Women with kidney cancer also were almost twice as likely as men to experience three or more consultations when they had blood in their urine.

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