Time Poor Britons Delay Cancer Checks & Opt For Self Diagnosis

New research commissioned by HCA Healthcare UK (www.hcahealthcare.co.uk), a leading provider in cutting edge health treatments, has delved into the nation’s opinions about cancer.

The healthcare provider’s survey research, which was conducted by YouGov, has uncovered that many people are putting their health to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list, due to immense time pressure - delaying seeking medical advice for potential symptoms of cancer and postponing screening appointments and instead turning to online search engines for advice.

According to the new survey, more than one in ten Britons highlighted that they would put off booking an appointment with their GP for at least a month if they discovered a changed mole, or lesion on their body – even though these symptoms could be a sign of something serious, such as cancer. One in twenty also indicated that they would be reluctant to seek medical advice at all for these symptoms.

When pressed on what would cause them to delay or be deterred from seeking medical advice about such symptoms, thirty four per cent indicated that it was due to a fundamental lack of time, work commitments, and not being able to visit their GP during standard opening hours – all of which are common traits of modern British life. Looking at Londoners specifically, this figure rises to thirty six per cent, with life in the capital proving to be particularly busy.

This is leading to fifteen per cent of Britons, and twenty per cent of Londoners turning to ‘Doctor Google’ to offer them serious medical advice, rather than booking an appointment with their local GP.

Life pressures were cited as the key reason why the British public are delaying appointments for important cancer screening programmes - such as smear tests, prostate checks and mammograms. For example, over one in ten admitted that work commitments or an overall lack of time put them off a making a trip to the GP.

This figure is even higher for Londoners, with close to a quarter of respondents highlighting that life pressures would cause them to delay booking a screening appointment.

Dr Gill MacLeod, Executive Director of Primary Care HCA Healthcare UK comments on the survey findings:

“We know that people today lead very busy lives and it can be tempting to put off seeking medical advice about a lump, bump or change in your health. As a GP I would encourage those who do have concerns to put their health at the top of their priority list, and go and get checked by an expert as soon as they can. It is also vital that people don’t delay taking up a routine screening for these same reasons.

Cancer ‘symptoms’ are broad ranging and in most cases GP’s will be able to talk through your symptoms and potentially do some further tests to rule out cancer and put your mind at rest. If cancer is found, the diagnosis does not have to have a negative outcome, in fact, with the advances in treatment, technology and research we are seeing improved outcomes for cancers- early diagnosis can be key in this.

So try not to delay, if you are unsure about any symptoms you have or do have a screening appointment make sure it’s at the top of your to-do list.“

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