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Bladder cancer care a 'lottery'

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Bladder cancer patients face a “postcode lottery” of care depending on where they live, health officials have warned.

There is a wide variation in diagnosis rates and treatments available to people with the disease, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said.

And evidence suggested that people with the condition also had a worse patient experience than those with other cancers, NICE said.

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK.

Every year, around 10,000 people are diagnosed with the disease and 5,000 will die from it.

NICE said it was developing a new guideline to help clinicians in England and Wales end the variation in care.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice director at NICE, said: “There are effective treatments available, but we know that there is a wide variation across the country in how well the disease is diagnosed and the care available locally.

“Due to the location of the tumours and the nature of the treatments which can affect bowel, bladder and sexual function, bladder cancer can also have a profound impact on someone’s psychological well being as well as their physical health.

“Recommendations made in this new draft guideline emphasise the importance of ensuring patients have all the information they need, to enable them to make better informed decisions about their care, improving their quality of life during and after treatment.”

The main symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine but there are also other signs including a need to visit the toilet more often or a burning sensation when passing urine.

The Department of Health said that it was investing in a national campaign to raise awareness of bladder and kidney cancers. A spokesman said the government has also invested more money to the Cancer Drugs Fund to improve access to drugs that are not routinely available through the NHS.

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