Many people 'putting off' a visit to the GP

18 September 2012

One in three people (32 per cent) in the UK are putting their health at risk by not getting an "unusual or persistent change" in their body checked because they believe it will go away, according to a new study.

Cancer Research UK found that a person with such an inclination would not visit the GP because they were of the opinion that whatever the problem was, it would resolve itself in due course.

Other reasons for not visiting the GP were given, with one in four (24 per cent) opposed to making an appointment with their doctor because of the "hassle" that this involves.

Meanwhile, 19 per cent of the 2,000 people that took part in the survey stated that they didn't want to waste their doctor's time, suggesting that they didn't think their problem warranted a check-up.

Others said that they were simply too busy to visit the GP (14 per cent), implying that people felt that work and extracurricular activities took precedence over their health.

Speaking about the findings of this interesting report, Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, commented that it is important for people to be aware that they are more likely to survive cancer if it is found at an early stage.

Consequently, it is very important for people to known the regular shape of their body, which makes it easier to identify abnormalities.

"If you notice any unusual or persistent changes, it’s really important to take the time to visit your doctor to talk about it," she advised.

"Cancer is most common in the over 50s, but people of all ages who notice a change that’s hung around for a few weeks should get it checked out by a doctor."

Dr Knight was keen for people to note that any changes in a person's body isn't necessarily synonymous with cancer. In most cases, it probably won't be all that serious. What is important is for people to get it checked.

"But if it is something serious, spotting it early can make a real difference because treatment is often simpler and more likely to be effective," she added. "A quick visit to your doctor could save your life."

The poll, which was carried out by YouGov, was done in conjunction with Cancer Research UK's Spot Cancer Early campaign, which reinforces the importance of heading to the doctors in the event of spotting something odd.

By diagnosing cancer when it is in its infancy, it can, for the most part, be easier to treat, which in turn increases the chances of recovering in a much better way. Take bowel cancer for example. If diagnosed early, 90 per cent of people will survive for at least five years.

Cancer Research UK highlighted how early detection of cancer can transform someone's life with the story of Ann, a 77-year-old woman from Merseyside. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003, after her GP referred her for an X-ray.

"I had an operation and now, more than eight years on, I am living a very full and active life doing all the things I enjoy," she remarked. "Catching cancer early is so important. I think if anyone has any signs or symptoms they should see their doctor right away."

Posted by Philip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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