TUF research provides breakthrough: new insights into who should be tested for blood in their urine

19 April 2018, Tim Burton 

Research funded by The Urology Foundation has suggested that new recommendations should be put in place to tell doctors who should have investigations following blood in their urine.

The current recommendations

Currently, the UK National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) recommends that patients over 45 years with visible blood in their urine should be referred to a urologist for further investigations.

They also suggest that, if a patient has non-visible blood in their urine, they should only be tested for urological cancers if they are over the age of 60 and have stinging when peeing or a raised white blood cell count.

What the research reveals

The research is based on a recent study of 3,556 patients recruited at 40 hospitals throughout the UK and suggests that all patients with visible blood in their urine should be investigated. The current recommended age restrictions for investigations may result in a delayed diagnosis in young patients.

The study found that none of the patients under the age of 40 with non-visible blood in their urine had cancer. Between the ages of 40-60 only 1.4% of these patients did, which is a low figure. The study concluded that it is still debateable whether these patients need to be referred on for further testing. A decision to investigate further should reflect a patient’s choice and public health policy.

Conclusions from the study

The study shows that all patients with visible blood in their urine should be investigated regardless of age. For non-visible blood in the urine, selecting patients at risk such as smokers, may be beneficial and better predicting tools will be helpful. The study shows that standardisation of guidelines will help physicians make correct decisions about investigating blood in urine.

Finding out more

More information about the study and some of the data acquired can be found in European Urology.  

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