Fifth of cancer patients 'delayed over three months before seeing doctor'

19 June 2014

Rectal bleeding has been found to be among the cancer symptoms most commonly linked to a delay in presenting to a doctor.

Some 35 per cent of cancer patients delayed too much before seeing a doctor about this.

The findings are from research recently presented in the British Journal of Cancer.

More generally, in excess of a fifth of cancer patients were found to have left it over three months before they saw a doctor about symptoms.

For 27 per cent of patients, delay was down to a failure to see that the symptoms were of a serious nature, the commonest reason given.

Other reasons, such as being embarrassed, were reported much less commonly.

Based on a survey, the research discovered that waiting was more common for people living in particularly deprived areas.

Patients who had prostate or rectal cancer were found to have been most likely to wait at least three months prior to seeing a doctor.

“This research highlights that we must do more to make sure the public recognises key symptoms of cancer like unexplained pain, unusual bleeding or weight loss, as well as a lump and make sure they get these checked out as soon as possible," commented King’s College London Early Presentation Group co-director Dr Lindsay Forbes, one of the authors of the study.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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