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Brits risk their lives by avoiding GP visits, survey reveals

Patients slow to visit doctors

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Almost one in four people would put off visiting their GP - despite an unusual change to their body – due to the hassle of getting an appointment.

The online survey of more than 2,000 adults, carried out by YouGov for Cancer Research UK’s ‘Spot Cancer Early’ campaign, also found that almost one in three (32%) would postpone a GP appointment because they would think the change would go away in its own time.

While one in five (20%) would not visit their GP because of the worry of what the doctor might find. Not wanting to waste the doctor’s time accounted for 19% of respondents not consulting their doctor, while 14% said they didn’t have time to visit the GP. A further 14% said embarrassment about changes to their body might prevent them from making an appointment.

Of those surveyed, when asked to pick from a list of life events 61% would act soonest to cancel a lost or stolen bank card. Only one in ten Brits (12%) would act most promptly if they noticed an unusual or persistent change in their body.

Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “We want people to know that you are more likely to survive cancer if it’s found at an early stage. It’s important to get to know your body so you’re familiar with what’s normal for you.

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

The 'Spot Cancer Early' campaign aims to encourage people to see their GP sooner rather than later if they notice any unusual or persistent changes to their body.

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