Urology Awareness Month

5 minute read time.

September is Urology Awareness Month so in this blog, we’re highlighting:

  • our information on urological cancers
  • how to look after your urological health.

What is urological health?
Urological health is the health of your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. These are the parts of your body responsible for producing, storing and getting rid of pee (urine).

This is a diagram of the female body, showing the bladder and kidneys.

For people with male sexual organs (prostate, penis and testicles), urological health also includes these functions.

A cross-sectional illustration showing the positions of the male pelvic organs including the bladder, urethra, prostate gland, rectum and anus. The image is from the side with a man facing to the left.
On the left of the image there is a bone called the pubic bone. This is at the front of the body beneath the bladder and above the root of the penis. At the back of the body are the bones that make up the spine. A layer of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles are attached to the pubic bone at the front of the body and go to the last bone in the spine at the back of the body. This looks a bit like curved hammock shape.
The bladder is in the centre of the image. A tube called the urethra runs from the bottom of the bladder through the prostate gland directly beneath the bladder, through the pelvic floor muscle and then through the penis to the opening at the tip of the penis.
Behind the bladder and prostate gland is the rectum. The rectum narrows at its lower end as it passes through the pelvic floor muscle. The rectum then joins to the anus where the bowel opens to outside the body.

How common are urological health problems?
Very common – about half of us (1 in 2) will have a urological problem at some point in our lives.

Most urological problems are not cancer. But the symptoms of non-cancerous problems can be the same as the symptoms of cancer. If you have any of these, it’s important to get them checked by your GP.

What symptoms should I look out for?
Our signs and symptoms card shows the most common symptoms of urological cancers, which are cancers of the:

What if I’m too embarrassed to talk to my GP?
Many people find it hard to talk about the symptoms of urological problems. They involve parts of our bodies we consider private and don’t talk about much in everyday life. But health professionals, like your GP, are used to talking about these problems.

When urological problems are diagnosed early, they are often easier to treat. This includes urological cancers.

What can I do to prevent urological cancers?
We don't know exactly what causes many cancers. But there are ways you can lower your risk and improve your general health:

  • If you smoke, stop smoking.
    Smoking causes more than 1 in 4 cancers in the UK (over 25%). Smoking is known to increase the risk of both bladder and kidney cancers. If you want to give up smoking, it is never too late to stop. Ask your GP for advice, or contact the stop-smoking service in your area.
  • Keep to a healthy weight.
    Being overweight increases the risk of many cancers, including kidney cancer. A combination of a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help you manage your weight. For advice and support, talk to your GP or a dietitian.

Where can I get more information or support?
You can call the Macmillan Support Line 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm on 0808 808 00 00 to talk to our nurses or cancer support specialists. Or if you don’t feel like talking, you can write or use our web chat function.

For more information about all types of cancer, including urological cancers, visit our information and support pages on our website.


To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

Comments? Feel free to add them below (you need to be logged in).

  • <p>I&#39;m 58 and have Squamous cell carcinoma G2 T3,diagnosed this July.I have a long history of Interstitial Cystitis but in 2005 pre cancerous changes Keratinising Squamous metaplasia were found.Earlier this year I began to feel unwell and found I was having great difficulty passing urine.It was because this symptom was entirely new&nbsp;for me that I sought urgent help from urology.I appreciate that obstructive symptoms are rarer and that SCC is a rarer cancer but I find it odd that the bladder cancer sites do not mention partial retention/retention as a possible sign of cancer.My symptoms are urgency and frequency and severe pain when I can actually pass urine and partial retention the rest of the time.I have been up every hour and more each night since April,but have no visible blood in the urine.I am having a radical cystectomy next week as this is the only treatment option.Jane</p>
  • FormerMember
    <p>Hi Jane,</p> <p>I had exactly the same symptoms as you and was diagnosed with squamous cell bladder cancer on 1st March this year. I had the radical cystectomy on May 16th and am feeling brilliant. My only problem now is it had spread to lymph nodes so I am T2 N3. Unfortunately there doesn&#39;t seem to be any evidence of treatment that works so I&#39;m undecided whether to go through chemo and radiotherapy if it doesn&#39;t work. I&#39;m 63 and enjoying every day, I hope you can do too soon. Good luck with the operation, if I can be any support, please contact me. Sue</p>
  • <p>Hi Sue,I&#39;m so pleased to hear that you are feeling well after your cystectomy.I am sorry that the cancer has spread.It is a worry if chemotherapy and radiotherapy don&#39;t work for this type of cancer.My surgeon said it doesn&#39;t respond to radiotherapy.I would love to stay in contact and find out how you are getting on.Did it take you long to recover from the cystectomy ? Best wishes.Jane</p>
  • FormerMember
    <p>Hi and ,&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you both for your comments.</p> <p>As you know squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder is much rarer than urothelial bladder cancer and the treatment is different. I&rsquo;m glad to read Sue, that you are feeling well after your surgery. Jane, I wish you all the best with your treatment.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like more information about squamous cell bladder cancer, you can contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Calls are free and the line is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. There are support groups in different parts of the UK for people with bladder cancer. You can find out more at&nbsp;<a href="actionbladdercanceruk.org/.../" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Action Bladder Cancer UK.</a></p> <p>Take care,&nbsp;<br />Helen</p>