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Don't put off going to the doctor

10th November 2011

Researchers have warned that patients delaying visits to the doctor is costing lives.

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Scientists at Kings College London (KCL) said people are coping with pain or other symptoms rather than bothering their GP.

They fear that more than a third of Britons who have unidentified symptoms that could be caused by cancer delay going to their GP in case they waste their time.

Among pensioners - who are most at risk of tumours - that figures rises to almost three quarters.

The KCL team also adds that feeling unwelcome at surgeries if they cannot get through on the phone and having to deal with unfriendly receptionists are also issues.

The team questioned 2,000 volunteers over the age of 50 and found that 52% would wait longer than a week to see their GP if they had a bloated abdomen (one of the main symptoms of bowel cancer) while 29% would delay making an appointment for at least a week if they had a persistent cough, an early sign of lung cancer.

A further 34% were worried about wasting the doctors’ time, 28% would be put off going as they would be concerned about what the doctor might find, 22% said they would be too busy to go and 15% were too embarrassed.

It comes as researchers try to work out why patients in Britain are more likely to die of cancer compared to other Western countries.

In addition, there is also concern that family doctors are missing some of the less obvious cancer symptoms when patients do attend surgeries.

 

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