The urgent patients are those with suspected cancer – prostate cancer may be suspected after a PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) blood test. Patients will have blood tests done via their GP – and if the PSA comes back slightly higher than the threshold, they may come to see us here at Albyn Hospital.
These patients may be experiencing some symptoms, for example, abdominal pain – usually in older, male patients. We would see these patients urgently and organise scans and prostate biopsies, if necessary.
Another symptom which may be indicative of cancer is visible blood in the urine; this may signify bladder cancer. An urgent referral will come to us, in this instance – and we will see the patient and organise urgent testing, such as a cystoscopy and an ultrasound scan.
Other types of urgent, urological cancers we see within our clinic include:
- Testicular cancer (with a symptom being a testicular lump or painful testicle). This is more common in younger, male patients. These patients are taken very seriously, especially due to their age, and they will be referred to us urgently.
- Kidney cancer (with symptoms including pain and blood in the urine)
- Penile cancer (patients may present with a lump in the penis).
Within the benign cancer group, there are patients who will still need to be seen urgently – especially those with pain – including bladder pain (which could be due to an infection), kidney pain, or painful bladder syndrome.
With the latter, people tend to have lots of urinary symptoms, on top of pain and they may wake up at night to pass urine.
Urinary Tract Infection or Kidney Stones
Kidney-type pain could be due to urinary tract infection, or kidney stones, which can cause a lot of grief and misery. Some of them can become an emergency, causing an obstruction in the kidneys, which can cause sepsis – an infection, which means these patients are also seen relatively urgently.
The more ‘routine’ and less urgent things we see in clinic include females with incontinence of urine – either stress incontinence of urine or urge incontinence of urine.
We see a lot of people with urinary tract infections, which is common, especially amongst women. We will see those patients and do what’s called a flow test – a physical test, where the patient will pass urine into a special machine containing a small bottle, which measures the flow of urine. This allows us to work out if the patient has a good flow or a poor flow.
A poor flow signifies obstruction, which can cause infection, in both males and females. We also perform cystoscopies on patients, to take a look at the obstruction and see if it’s mild or moderate. This is used for patients who get a lot of urinary tract infections.
For men, urinary symptoms – especially in older men – are usually due to obstruction of prostate enlargement, i.e. in benign prostate enlargement. Those patients are seen routinely, not necessarily urgently.
We also see a lot of patients with foreskin problems – i.e. the foreskin being tight, or unretractable. It’s a medical condition called phimosis and a lot of these patients may need surgery, in the form of a circumcision.
Vasectomy is offered at Albyn Hospital too. It is also available on the NHS, but the waiting list is long, so lots of people prefer to get it done privately.