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Patients too scared to mention cancer symptoms

6th March 2012

New evidence has suggested patients are too afraid to mention early symptoms of cancer to their doctor, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths in the UK.

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Cancer Research UK surveyed 2,000 people and discovered that 40% of those asked might delay having their symptoms checked because they are worried what may be discovered, or fear they may be wasting their GP’s time, despite early diagnosis being critical to successful treatment of cancer.

Professor Peter Johnson of Cancer Research UK said: “Our report highlights just how much more we have to do to raise awareness about the early signs of cancer.

“If patients are diagnosed when the cancer is still in its early stages before it has had a chance to spread to other parts of the body it is more likely that treatment will be successful. That is why it is so important for people to be aware of things that might be early signs of cancer.”

Those questioned were asked to list potential cancer symptoms but 75% failed to mention pain, coughing or problems with bowels or bladder and more than two-thirds failed to list bleeding.

Professor Johnson stressed the importance of early diagnosis in giving people a better chance of beating cancer.

He added: “The best precaution anyone can take is to be on the lookout for any changes in their bodies that seem unusual for them and to get them checked by a doctor.”

Cancer Research UK has teamed up with Tesco to raise £10m to fund 32 early diagnosis research projects across the UK.

 

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