‘Worrying’ ignorance about cancer symptoms

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A NEW report has found a “worrying” ignorance among people in Yorkshire about the signs and symptoms of cancer.

A study by Cancer Research UK found more than three quarters failed to mention either coughing or problems with the bowels and bladder as possible warning signs of cancer.

More than two thirds also failed to list bleeding, with only a quarter mentioning weight loss as a potential sign.

The survey also found even when people recognise serious symptoms they said they might delay getting symptoms checked fearing what the doctor may find.

A third of people said they would delay a visit because they would worry about wasting a doctor’s time.

Cancer chiefs say overwhelming failure to recognise common cancer symptoms - resulting in late diagnosis - is leading to thousands of avoidable deaths.

In Yorkshire, 27,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 13.700 lost their lives to the disease each year in the region.

The statistics have spurred a major project between the charity and Tesco, which will help scientists find ways to increase survival rates in the UK.

Tesco will raise £10 million to fund 32 early diagnosis research projects across the UK, including Yorkshire, and will launch a new in-store customer awareness campaign.

Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire, 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.”

Richard Brasher, Tesco UK’s chief executive, said: “Missing the early warning signs can result in late diagnosis of cancer, which leads to thousands of avoidable cancer deaths.

At Tesco we are passionate about fighting cancer. Working with Cancer Research UK as our Charity of the Year we will work to get this message over to millions of our customers and raise a record £10m to help save more lives.”