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Many People Are Afraid To Tell Their Doctors About Cancer Warning Signs, Survey Shows

Cancer Warning Signs

The Huffington Post   Posted: 03/06/2012 4:45 pm

If you noticed something was just a little bit off with your health -- possibly even an indicator of cancer -- would you tell your doctor?

A new study suggests that many people would be afraid to.

Researchers from Cancer Research UK published a report involving survey responses from 2,090 people in Great Britain, showing that almost 40 percent of people would wait to tell their doctor about a concerning symptom because of fear of what the symptom could mean.

In addition, the report showed that more than 25 percent of the people surveyed in the study would delay telling a doctor about a symptom because they didn't want to waste the doctor's time.

But that's not where the concerning findings end -- the report also showed that people may not even really know what cancer warning signs are. More than 75 percent of people asked to list off possible signs of cancer neglected to include bowel or bladder problems, coughing or pain to the list.

Plus, more than two-thirds of the people in the study didn't list bleeding as a warning sign, and about a quarter of people said that weight loss or a change in a mole were warning signs.

"Of course we are all frightened of hearing that we may have cancer. But people need to know that catching the disease early gives them much better odds of surviving it," Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician of Cancer Research UK, said in a statement. "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."

Recently, a study by the University of Cambridge and the Eastern Cancer Registration and Information Centre (ECRIC), which involved 17,800 women with breast cancer and 13,200 women with lung cancer, showed that breast cancer diagnosis is lower among older women. The researchers hypothesized that that could be because patient awareness may not be as high among older women, which could lead to the later diagnoses.

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