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Referral to a specialist

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist within 2 weeks if they think your symptoms could be due to kidney cancer. You usually see a urologist.

Seeing your GP

The symptoms of kidney cancer are similar to some other medical conditions. It can be very difficult for GPs to decide if you may have a kidney cancer or something less serious that will go away on its own.

Your GP may ask you to wait and see if your symptoms get better or respond to treatment such as antibiotics.

Urgent referral

Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist within 2 weeks if you have symptoms that could be due to kidney cancer. This is called an urgent referral.

You should get an urgent referral 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.

UK referral guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) produce guidelines for GPs in the UK. The guidelines help them decide who needs an urgent referral.

Information and help