A Sheffield consultant has said thousands of people could be 'risking their lives' if they do not see a doctor when they spot blood in their pee.
Chris Chapple, a consultant urological surgeon working within Sheffield's hospitals, has warned that many patients he sees had delayed seeking medical attention which could be a major cancer alert.
A survey found that 20 per cent of patients went on to be diagnosed with kidney, bladder or prostate cancer.
The findings are backed by a public survey carried out by medical research charity The Urology Foundation, which showed that a quarter of respondents would delay seeking attention when passing blood in their pee.
Over a third said fear of what might be the problem would stop them finding out why they had it.
Mr Chapple has now teamed up with The Urology Foundation to launch an awareness campaign aimed at encouraging patients to seek medical advice earlier.
He said: “Blood in pee could very well be a symptom of a urological cancer. If you delay seeing your GP, you delay making a diagnosis and getting appropriate treatment and this can affect the outcome.
The earlier a patient with bladder cancer has treatment, for example, the better the prognosis. By delaying patients can be risking their lives and putting themselves in danger. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had blood the once, or if it goes away and then comes back. If you see it once, you must see your GP.
“It is very common in a urology department to see patients with blood in their pee. Some people with blood in pee wait to see a doctor because they are scared – but it is like the ostrich head in the sand – this is not something that is going to go away – it will only get worse.
“I am really surprised by the survey findings – I am astonished that anyone who had blood in their pee would wait to see their doctor. Blood in pee that is visible to the naked eye is a major cancer alert.
"Early diagnosis is vital. Anyone with blood in pee should go straight to the GP. They will be referred and investigated within two weeks."
The Urology Foundation has dubbed September as ‘Urology Awareness Month’.
The charity aims to break down some of the myths and taboos surrounding urology health and to ensure that people are aware of the symptoms.
A spokesman said: "We need to banish the stigma, and raising the profile of urology is the best way of ensuring that patients get the treatment they need as quickly as possible."