The UK NSC recommendation on Bladder Cancer screening in adults

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed June 2015
Next review due in 2018/19
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The UK NSC does not recommend a national screening programme for bladder cancer.

There are no reliable screening markers that meet the NSC criteria in offering a safe, precise and valid test."


Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening for bladder cancer is not recommended. This is because: -

  • No test was identified which would be suitable for use in a screening programme. Blood in the urine remains a poor predictor of bladder cancer. The possibility of improving this by detecting blood in combination with different elements in the urine had been explored. These approaches would still result in a large number of people being falsely identified as having cancer.
  • Other potential approaches to screening, for example genetic testing, were identified. But these were in the early stages of development and their usefulness for screening had not been established.

More about Bladder Cancer

More than 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer in the UK each year. It is the fourth most common cancer in men, and the tenth most common cancer in women. Bladder cancer is rare in people under 40; the average age at diagnosis is 65. By the time of diagnosis, about 85% of bladder cancers are still limited to the bladder. The rest will have also spread to the lymph nodes (glands).

» Read more about bladder cancer on NHS Choices

» Read more about bladder cancer on Cancerbackup


The British Association for Cancer Research
The British Association of Urological Surgeons
Cancer Research UK
Faculty of Public Health
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
Rarer Cancers Forum
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Surgeons
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Society and College of Radiographers
Urostomy Association

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Bladder cancer screening policy review Nov 2010 (PDF document, 74KB, 03/12/10)

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