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Referral to a specialist

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist if you have symptoms that could be due to kidney cancer. Depending on your symptoms and other factors, this might be an urgent referral.

Seeing your GP

It can be hard for GPs to decide who may have cancer and who might have a more minor condition. For some symptoms, your doctor may ask you to wait to see if the symptoms get better or respond to treatment, such as antibiotics.

UK referral guidelines

There are guidelines for GPs to help them decide who needs a referral.

Some of the UK nations have targets around how quickly you’ll be seen. In England an urgent referral means that you should see a specialist within 2 weeks.

This 2 week time frame is not part of the waiting time targets for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But wherever you live, you are seen as quickly as possible.

Ask your GP when you are likely to get an appointment

Urgent referral

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist if you are:

  • aged 45 or over and have blood in your urine without a urine infection, or
  • aged 45 or over and have blood in your urine which keeps coming back after a urine infection has been successfully treated

Your doctor uses a dipstick urine test to see if you have a urine infection.

Doctors usually rule out urine infections in women before making an urgent referral, but not necessarily in men. This is because women are more likely to get urine infections than men.

If you're still worried

Sometimes you might feel that your GP is not concerned enough about your symptoms. If you think they should be more concerned, print this page and the symptoms page. Ask your GP to talk it through with you. Together you can decide if you should see a specialist.