Urology Awareness Month

 'Urology Awareness Month' written over an image of Autumn leaves

Urology. Defined in the Oxford dictionary as the branch of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the urinary system. It’s always been a sensitive topic and often leads to not getting the medical attention that is required when a problem occurs in this area. In fact, according to the research done by Bupa,  one in five UK adults who have experienced potential cancer symptoms, have not seen a doctor due to being too embarrassed to go.

As we leave September, so does Urology Awareness Month. This month has been highlighted to help break down the stigma of embarrassment and taking better precautions to look after our urological health.

The most common types of urological cancers are listed here:

Each link contains valuable information such as how to self-examine, what signs to look out for and what treatments are commonly used to treat the cancer. It’s always important to note that if you feel something unusual, it’s important that you see your GP. Using the internet to search for your symptoms is often a worrying experience, that’s why if you have any doubts, you should get examined by a medical professional.

You can access our causes and risk factors page here. The information on this page has been put together by our Cancer Information Development team and it aims to provide you with a good understanding about what you can do to try and limit your chances of getting urological cancer.

It’s often we can find ourselves in a worrying scenario but can’t shake off the feeling of embarrassment. It’s a natural feeling that all humans have built into them and it can be hard to shut out, especially if there is an issue involving anything relating to the urological system.  One of our users in the Testicular Cancer forum says:  

“I can’t be sure I’m only fairly young so am embarrassed to go to the doctor or my parents.”

Every person is different, so it’s natural to assume that everyone’s attitude to appointments will vary. The Community demonstrates fantastic ways of encouraging others to leave their insecurities behind in favour of health. Our Community champion, rily states in our Bladder Cancer forum:

“I actually look forward to them as they can be very reassuring. As regards the embarrassment side of things, we need to leave this at the door.”

It’s often easier said than done regarding leaving embarrassment at the door. However, another interesting take is to mentally, take another approach. Rily mentions in the Bladder Cancer forum:

“I have always tried to treat them with humour as it is a very unusual situation to be in.”

Often, we can find ourselves in a difficult situation and it’s the reassurance of others that helps those to insecurities to disappear. One of our members, John1963, in our Prostate Cancer forum said:

“Just being a big baby and feeling totally humiliated, embarrassed and a shamed about the whole procedure. And off course scared about the results and the fact there will be have a dozen people in the room also.”

To which our superstar champ, Rily, replied:

“You tend to keep your eyes on the screen rather than watch what is going on down there. Takes 10 minutes tops. You also tend to worry about what they may see rather than the procedure. I hope it goes well.  Best wishes.”

Just basic reassurance is enough to calm a worried mind. John1963 thought so as he followed up with:

“Thank you from a big baby.”

To conclude, it is important to remember that embarrassment is a natural feeling and there is no right or wrong way to feel before an appointment. At the end of the day, the most important thing of all is our health. No matter how you’re feeling, remember, you are not alone. The Community is right there with you.

Please don’t hesitate to use this link to search for any relevant literature relating to this blog, such as the potentially life-saving self-examination pamphlet, ‘How to check your balls’.

  • Thank you for this.My main symptom of bladder cancer was not being able to pass urine and difficulty in passing it.I did ask if this could be added to the list of symptoms as perhaps a rarer sign.I had an existing bladder condition long before cancer and not being able to pass urine easily was a new symptom and why I asked to be referred back to urology.The tumour was blocking the bladder entrance causing the obstructive symptoms.There have been others in the bladder group who had this as their main symptom.Best wishes.Jane

  • Hi , thanks for your comment and sharing your experience with bladder cancer. I hope you found our blog helpful to read, and you'll continue to find support in the bladder cancer group here on the Online Community.

  • Hi Eliza,I found the blog interesting.The people in the bladder group are always kind and supportive.Best wishes Jane

  • I used to work as a health care assistant on a male surgical ward. It was mainly surgery for Crohn's, ulcerative colitis and other bowel issues. I can honestly say that the nurses or doctors even notice the area where the surgery is being done. It doesn't register as being any different from any other part of the body. I've seen more Willie's than you can shake a stick at but you still look at the patients face and see the person in front of you.

  • As i am currently going though urological investigations, i can honestly say that it’s important to get past the embarrassing feelings of the whole procedure of having a camera into your bladder etc, as I have had womb cancer in the past i kinda got over the embarrassment to a simple oh well just get on with it, it wasn’t easy but I must admit having to have an internal examination every time i see my gynae team it’s actually helping me get past the embarrassing feelings when i went for cystroscopy (camera in to the bladder). I have had a few other the years some have shown infection in the bladder, been clear looking great. My last one i had yesterday and I admit its left me a little scared as I wasn’t expecting what they said. I take preventative antibiotics to reduce my chance of renal infection so I expected to see a clear image. The Doctor was fantastic explained everything that he was seeing to words I could understand, “thats your right opening into the bladder from your right kidney as you can see it’s draining well and looks perfectly fine” he then had a look other to the other side I noticed he spent a long time looking at it and then comes out “ you see that rather lumpy bumpy area there, thats your left kidney” so horror in between finding lumpy bumpy funny started to set in, why is my left kidney so lumpy and why is so lumpy you can see it pressing on the bladder wall? Once he took the camera out he explains that the bladder looks fine, a great relief, but we do need to investigate your kidneys and check both more closely and said that the CT scan which I believe was already ordered but he is making sure it is, so now i am desperately trying not to go to the rabbit with its eyes in the head lights mode, desperately trying not to worry because lets face it until you know what it is, it could be something although painful but very benign, but my mind is still going what if it’s kidney cancer, have i had a recurrence?

    my mine symptoms I have been having is difficult at times passing water without pain, a bad bleed then some spotting going on, pain in the back of my rib cage and abdomen pain, a general heaviness in the area . I had thought the painful ribs was caused by my experience of spinal problems but that’s been ruled out. So now i am back to my first worry are my kidneys playing up again, having had mild kidney failure and infections etc in the past.

    Its so important to get yourself checked out, don’t feel embarrassed about it, you can watch on screen when they look inside your bladder and honestly you will probably feel more bothered about what they see rather then your body parts, they have definitely seen it all. If you are at all concerned please go and get yourself checked out.