Half of parents who spot child brain tumour symptoms would not refer to GP

Nearly half of parents who spot the symptoms of a brain tumour in their child would not refer them to a GP, research by health charities shows.

Dr Baker: parents and carers hesitant about seeking GP advice
Dr Baker: parents and carers hesitant about seeking GP advice

A total of 71% of parents were aware of eight key symptoms that can point to a brain tumour, but 44% said they would not go straight to a GP, according to research by the HeadSmart campaign.

Survey respondents said that their first step would be to call NHS Direct, or ask a friend or relative for advice first.

Brain tumours are diagnosed in around 500 children a year in the UK and are the leading cause of deaths in children. Symptoms are often mistaken for those of other illnesses, charities warn.

RCGP council member Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘Whilst the results show an encouraging growth in parents and carers being aware of the symptoms of a brain tumour, it is worrying to learn that nearly half of them would not consult their local GP for more information or to have their child examined.

‘We are not sure why parents and carers are hesitant about seeking professional advice but they shouldn’t be. We would urge any person who is worried about a child to look at the HeadSmart website, request one of our symptoms cards and seek advice from their doctor.’

The HeadSmart campaign is funded by the Healthcare Foundation, the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust and the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Nottingham.

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