Britons putting health at risk by ignoring symptoms

Britons are too “stoic” about their health, with the result that they often delay reporting unusual symptoms or going to a doctor and so could be putting their health at risk, especially when it comes to diagnosing and treating conditions such as cancer.

A study by AXA PPP Healthcare argued people across Britain too often delay going to their GP – despite noticing something unusual about their body – because they feel they should be physically unwell before they make an appointment.

The “cancer consciousness” findings were published in December as part of AXA’s “Little Big Things” campaign designed to raise people’s awareness of the “cancer journey”.

The poll of more than 2,000 adults found that 61% admitted to having delayed making an appointment with their GP when they had noticed something that was unusual for their bodies.

A sizeable minority had experienced potential signs or symptoms of cancer, from changes in bowel habits to blood in their urine, yet fewer than half of people had seen their GP in each instance.

The one exception was people reporting lumps in their breast, two-thirds of whom (68%) had visited their doctor.

Fewer than one-third said they would make an appointment to see their GP immediately if they noticed something unusual about their body such as a lump or a change in bowel habits, with difficulty making an appointment (30%), being too busy (27%) or fear of what they may find out (25%) all cited as reasons for the potential delay.

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