Ignorance over cancer symptoms causing concern

A WORRYINGLY high number of people have trouble listing the early warning signs of cancer, according to a report out this week.

More than three quarters of people quizzed on the south coast - including a number in Eastbourne - were oblivious to even the most common symptoms, which include coughing and weight loss.

The research, carried out by Cancer Research UK, found that two thirds of people also failed to list bleeding or problems with bowels or bladder.

Even when they recognised signs they thought might be serious, the survey found that more than a third said they might delay getting symptoms checked out because they were worried what the doctor might find.

And more than a quarter said they held off talking to a doctor because they were worried they would be wasting their GP’s time.

The report also revealed that when local people were asked what they thought affected a person’s chance of developing cancer only nine per cent mentioned being overweight and four per cent listed old age as a factor.

And, while 86 per cent said smoking increased the risk, only 29 per cent listed sunburn as a major concern.

Experts locally are now worried this ignorance could be contributing to the 20,500 or so deaths each year in the south east.

Around 41,600 people in the area are diagnosed with cancer each year and the fear is a lack of knowledge around the symptoms can delay diagnosis and make the cancer more difficult to treat successfully.

Having received the alarming news from its study, Cancer Research UK has now teamed up with Tesco in an attempt to blitz local people with leaflets and in-store displays with early sign information.

Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the South East, said, “If patients are diagnosed when cancer is still in its early stages, before it has had a chance to spread to other parts of the body, treatment is more likely to be successful.”