Brits are ignoring 'alarm' symptoms for cancer, but do you know them?

A majority of Britons are putting their lives at risk by ignoring 'red flags' associated with cancer.

A study by Cancer Research UK found that 53 per cent of 2,000 respondents had experienced a symptom used by experts as a warning sign of at least one type of cancer.

More than a third chose not to seek medical advice, while only two per cent thought cancer was a possible cause.

The 'alarm' symptoms for cancer

  • An unexplained cough or a feeling of hoarseness

  • Any change in bowel habits over a period of three weeks

  • Change in the appearance of a mole

  • Any unexplained bleeding anywhere on the body

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • A persistent difficulty or soreness when swallowing

There is a bit of myth-busting that needs to happen here. People bring up this idea that we shouldn’t encourage people to become hypochondriacs… but we have a problem with people who are frightened to look like they’re time wasters or that they’re wasting valuable NHS resources.

We need to send the message that if you have symptoms that don’t go away, particularly symptoms that have been alerted as warning signs, don’t ignore them, go to your doctor and seek help.

  • Dr Katriina Whitaker, Cancer Research UK's senior research fellow at University College London

Source: PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science)

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