Worrying ignorance of the signs and symptoms of cancer is revealed in a new report.
Almost three quarters asked to list possible warning signs and symptoms of cancer failed to mention either coughing or problems with bowels or bladder according to the Cancer Research UK report, Delay Kills..
The same proportion also failed to list bleeding, while only around one quarter mentioned weight loss as being a potential sign of cancer.
And even when people in the region recognised signs they thought might be serious the survey found that three in ten said they might delay getting symptoms checked out because they were worried what the doctor might find. One in five might delay because they feared wasting the doctor’s time.
The report’s survey also revealed that when people were asked what they thought affected a person’s chance of developing cancer only 10 per cent mentioned being overweight and under three per cent listed old age as a factor. While 85 per cent said smoking affected cancer risk, only 22 per cent mentioned getting sunburnt.
Failure to recognise common cancer symptoms, resulting in late diagnosis of the disease, is leading to thousands of avoidable cancer deaths – say cancer doctors.
These statistics have spurred a new partnership between Cancer Research UK and retail giant Tesco which will help scientists find ways to close the gap between survival rates in the UK and the best in Europe so thousands more will survive cancer in future.
Tesco will raise £10 million to fund 32 early diagnosis research projects across the UKand will launch a new in-store customer awareness campaign.
Cancer Research UK leaflets on the early signs of cancer will be on display at store checkouts and will be available to the millions of customers who pass through each week.
Helen Johnstone of Cancer Research UK 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.
“Our new report shows how much more we have to do to raise awareness about the early signs of cancer. Now, thanks to Tesco’s support, our scientists can focus on even more research to find out how we can get cancer diagnosed sooner and help many more people survive in the future.”