Across the region more than 550 people die from bladder and kidney cancer every year.
In many cases the disease is deadly because there are few recognisable symptoms.
Now, a new campaign has been launched so people can tell if they may be at risk.
Valerie Hodgson from County Durham survived the disease. She told ITV News of her shock on being diagnosed:
– Valerie Hodgson
It just came out of the blue. I was shocked and numb. I couldn't believe it.
But I'm still here today. Somebody up there is looking after me .
They say it's a silent killer and believe me I knew nothing about it.
If you're not sure, go for a check-up."
You can watch the full report below.