CUH consultant helps develop first bladder cancer guideline


A consultant urologist from CUH Addenbrooke’s has helped to develop the first national guideline on bladder cancer.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline aims to improve the diagnosis and management of the seventh most common cancer in the UK.

Bill Turner is a consultant urologist at CUH and a member of the group that developed the guideline: “Bladder cancer presents a wide range of differing risk to different people who have it. This guideline makes recommendations to the NHS that should help us to focus much more on the risk to the individual, so that the correct level of assessment can be done, and the relevant treatment options can be set out by the appropriate clinical team.

“This should promote better shared decision making, including discussion of all aspects of the person’s particular cancer, and the pros and cons of treatment options, so that people can make more informed choices about their care. Our recommendations should also allow more targeted and effective use of NHS resource.”

There are just over 10,000 cases of bladder cancer diagnosed each year, according to figures from Cancer Research UK and about 450 in the East of England. It is 3 to 4 times more common in men than in women.

Bladder cancer is usually identified on the basis of visible blood in the urine or blood found on urine testing, but emergency admission is a common way for bladder cancer to present, and is often associated with a poor prognosis.

The majority of cases occur in people aged over 60, with age being the main risk factor for bladder cancer. Smoking and exposure to some industrial chemicals - such as those used in the rubber and dye industries – can also increase the risk.

Because of patient numbers, late diagnosis and the need for long-term follow-up  it is one of the most expensive cancers to treat. Overall, the disease kills 5,000 a year, but there is significant variation in survival rates, with women, the elderly and those from deprived backgrounds having worse outcomes, the NICE guideline says.

CUH provides the full range of treatment options for people with all forms of bladder cancer. This is done by a specialist multidisciplinary team, including staff from urology, radiology, pathology and oncology.

Bill, who trained in Cambridge and has been a consultant at Addenbrooke’s for 16 years, added: “We see people who have low risk cancer and do not require major invasive treatment, and people with all other forms, through to those who have high risk invasive  cancer who are offered chemotherapy, radiotherapy and radical surgery, including bladder reconstruction. Treatment for advanced disease, and end of life care is also offered.

“The team serves as a cancer centre for much of East Anglia, working with partners in other hospitals for people in our region.”


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