Make sure you’re clear on cancer

A NIGHT out with the lads was the first time he noticed it.

Stephen Carr paid a visit to the toilet during a visit to the pub and spotted blood in his urine.

It was the first step towards getting the treatment he needed for bladder cancer.

Now he’s urging others with a problem to get themselves checked out.

CHRIS CORDNER found out more.

AT first he thought nothing of it.

Perhaps he’d strained something. That’s what went through the mind of Peterlee resident Stephen Carr who has backed the be clear on cancer campaign – after having his own personal battle with the illness.

Stephen first noticed he may have a problem more than a year ago after discovering blood in his urine during a night at the pub with friends.

The 56-year-old said: “I went to the toilet and it was then that I noticed blood in my wee.

“At first, I didn’t think much about it. I was thinking to myself ‘have I strained something at work?’ But when I went to the toilet the next time, I saw blood again.”

After returning home that evening, Stephen told his wife Elizabeth about what he had seen, and she urged him to visit his GP.

He said: “I told my wife, who said I had to go to the GP to get it checked.”

The GP referred Stephen for a scan at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and he was then moved to the University Hospital of North Tees, where he had an operation to treat cancer in the bladder.

Since then, Stephen has had regular treatment with BCG into the bladder. BCG, a vaccine for tuberculosis, also helps to stop bladder cancers growing back or spreading into the deeper layers of the bladder. It is a liquid that a doctor or nurse puts into the bladder through a catheter.

Father of two Stephen is due to return to hospital this month for a check-up.

He said: “I would urge anyone who has noticed blood in their wee to go and get it checked out. Please don’t put it off because you think it’s embarrassing or you think it’s nothing.

“It might be nothing, but you need to see an expert who can let you know if there is a problem.”

Specialist nurse for urology Karen Kilburn said: “Stephen’s story highlights the importance of going to see your doctor if you have blood in your wee. Even if it’s just once it’s important not to ignore it.”

Consultant urologist Les Gilliland added: “We’re 100 per cent behind the be clear on cancer campaigns. They’re very helpful to educate people about warning signs for cancer and, most importantly, save lives.

“The message couldn’t be clearer – if you see blood in your wee, even once, go and get it checked out. It might be nothing but, at the other end of the scale, it could save your life.”

You can find out more at www.nhs.uk/bladder-kidney-cancer/Pages/blood-urine.aspx