People are being urged to get to know their bodies and seek medical advice if they think is anything wrong, after research revealed many are reluctant to react to potential cancer symptoms.
According to a 'Cancer Consciousness' poll by insurance firm AXA, the majority of Brits (91%) have had direct experience of seeing loved ones deal with cancer, yet only 28% said they would make an appointment to see their GP immediately if they noticed something unusual for their body that could be a symptom of cancer.
AXA PPP healthcare chief medical officer Dr Gary Bolger said: "A key to the early detection of cancer is knowing what ‘normal’ feels like for your body so you are able to identify a significant change."
"People who find signs or symptoms of cancer should not be afraid to see their doctor for advice straight away," he explained. "It really is a case of the sooner the better.”
Dr Bolger added: “It’s regrettable that too many people present themselves to their GP or even to A&E with cancer in its late stage. This makes the cancer harder to treat and treatment less successful."
The research found that around one in 10 of the 2,033 people questioned had experienced potential signs or symptoms of cancer, from changes in bowel habits to blood in their urine, in the last six months.
Yet fewer than half of these people had sough medical advice from their GP – with the exception of those reporting lumps in their breast, where two thirds of whom (68%) had visited their doctor.
Of those polled cited difficulty in getting an appointment (30%), being too busy (27%) or fear of what they may find out (25%) as reasons for the potential delay.