A simple urine test, developed at the University of Surrey may greatly improve patient quality of life and has the potential to save the NHS in excess of £100 million every year.

The test, developed by Dr Richard Morgan and Prof Hardev Pandha looks for traces of the EN -2 protein in the urine, a protein which has been found to exist in bladder and prostate cancer patients. The test will help in the early detection of bladder cancer and could allow doctors to diagnose and treat patients without using invasive and costly procedures, such as cystoscopies. 

The test will allow new patients to be quickly and easily diagnosed as well as allowing existing patients already undergoing treatment to be more easily monitored. The Surrey team analysed urine from a large group of bladder cancer patients and healthy 'control' patients from Birmingham. The research was published in the European Journal of Cancer last month.

There are 10 000 new cases of bladder cancer every year with up to 20% of people going on to die from the disease.  Once a patient is diagnosed with bladder cancer it is likely the patient will go through many years of treatment - making it one of the most expensive cancers to manage.  This new test will help alleviate this burden, both to the NHS and to individual patients undergoing treatment.

Professor Hardev Pandha of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey's Postgraduate Medical School said:

"Bladder cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to manage.   During the course of treatment, patients can endure multiple invasive procedures, used to monitor the success of surgeries and drug therapy programmes.  This simple test challenges the need for such routine and invasive procedures, greatly improving the experience for patients and saving the NHS a considerable amount of money".