New research from Bowel Cancer UK has found that over a quarter of people (26%) in the East of England would put off going to the doctor with a potentially serious symptom because they would be worried about what the diagnosis may be.
This is despite according Bowel Cancer UK that 80% of people in the UK can now name at least one symptom of bowel cancer. This is a significant improvement on last year’s survey where only 43% recognised any symptom. (Bowel Cancer UK BCAM survey 2011).
The survey launched in the run up to April’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month also worryingly showed that over a quarter of people in the East of England would be too scared (27%) or feel awkward (21%) about discussing a symptom with their doctor if one arose.
It is also very concerning that 22% of people in the East of England may find it difficult to make an appointment with their doctor thereby delaying a possible diagnosis.
Only 35% of people thought bowel cancer was one of the three most common cancers amongst women and many respondents incorrectly thought women were more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer (67% thought it was one of the top 3 most common cancers) than bowel cancer.
Deborah Alsina, CEO, Bowel Cancer UK said: “It’s good news that people are now more likely to recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer. However it’s deeply worrying if they are still unwilling to act upon them. I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to go to their doctor if they have concerns, it really might save their life.”
Sonia was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009 and says “I experienced symptoms for a couple of years and put them down to IBS before I collapsed and was referred for further investigation. I’m now in recovery but following my experience I urge, that if you have any symptoms, even if you think they may be trivial, please act on them immediately and visit your doctor. Knowing the symptoms alone is not enough to improve survival from this disease.”