British stoicism could be increasing cancer risk

The British are known for their stiff upper lip and stoic reaction to bad news, but this national characteristic could be increasing cancer risk.

Research by King's College London published in the British Journal of Cancer revealed that people in Britain are more likely than other countries to avoid seeing their doctor with symptoms they consider to be embarrassing or unimportant.

This could explain why cancer survival rates in the UK are proportionally lower than in other high-income countries, as people do not go to their doctor when the cancer is still in its early stages.

"The UK stood out in this study. A high proportion of people said that not wanting to waste the doctor's time and embarrassment might stop them going to the doctor with a symptom that might be serious," explained Dr Lindsay Forbes, key author of the study.

"The traditional British stiff upper lip could be preventing people from seeing their doctor."

One year survival rates for lung cancer in the UK are around 30 per cent, while in Sweden this figure is 44 per cent.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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