Reluctance to visit GP with cancer signs 'costing lives'

Lives are being lost because patients worry about wasting their GP's time with early signs of cancer, researchers have said.

The study found people in the UK were more likely to be worried about wasting their doctor's time with symptoms
The study found people in the UK were more likely to be worried about wasting their doctor's time with symptoms

The British 'stiff upper lip' may be holding back patients from presenting early with symptoms of cancer and could explain the UK's poor cancer survival rates, they said.

Researchers from King's College London and University College London (UCL) surveyed 19,079 men and women aged over 50 from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Britons had the same awareness of cancer symptoms as other nationalities, but worried far more about wasting the doctor's time or being embarrassed about their symptoms.

Co-author Dr Lindsay Forbes from King's College London said: 'The traditional British "stiff upper lip" could be preventing people from seeing their doctor. We need to support people to make the right decisions about their health and increase awareness of the age-related risk.'

Professor Jane Wardle of UCL said: 'In the UK, it's important to understand more about how people make the decision to go to their GP with possible cancer symptoms, and how they interact with their GP, to identify the best ways to reduce barriers to early presentation.'

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