An alarming new survey finding has revealed that half of Britons wait for at least six months to speak to their GPs if they notice a symptom that could be a sign of cancer,
The finding emerged from a YouGov survey conducted for Cancer Research UK revealed that 48 per cent of those who had symptoms like coughing up blood, sudden inexplicable weight loss or found a lump did not seek an appointment with their doctor straight away.
A particular concerns was that many trying to get an appointment with a GP found it hard to do so. Only 74 per cent of those from low-income backgrounds were able to get to see their doctor, compared with 81 per cent of wealthier people.
Commenting on the findings, Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: “Spotting cancer early is vital if more people are to survive, and the first step in that process is getting help for a possible cancer symptom.” She expressed concern at the “large gap in accessing services between the UK’s most and least deprived groups”.
Ms Mitchell went on to note that the government has made better cancer diagnosis and elimination of health disparities a key priority. She said with a new white paper on tackling disparities and a ten year plan for England, the health secretary appointed by the next prime minister “has a huge opportunity to transform cancer survival with a clear and strong plan that works for all”.
While some cancers, such as lung cancer, are less of a threat as people do not smoke as much as they used to, others may need a lot more vigilance and early check-ups when anomalies are detected.
Cancer Research noted earlier this summer that skin cancer rates among British men have jumped 219 per cent since the 1970s as overseas holidays in hot countries and a habit of going shirtless – with cancers commonly found on torsos – have become more common.
The increase for women was substantially lower, but still large, at 76 per cent.