People are ignoring early warning signs of cancer. Here's what they are

People are failing to heed the early warning signs of cancer because they fear that they may end up wasting their doctor’s time over trivial symptoms, a study has found.

Many of the so-called “red flag” warning signs are still being ignored, a patient survey has shown.

Some people said they failed to see a doctor because they were worried that their GP would view it as a trivial matter. Others said they feared a cancer diagnosis, adopted a stiff upper lip, lacked confidence in the health system or simply put it down to ageing. Others believed their symptoms would go away of their own accord, according to Cancer Research UK, which carried out the survey of more than 1,700 people over the age of 50.

Potential early warning signs of cancer include:

  • A persistent cough or hoarseness, a lump, diarrhoea or constipation
  • Unexplained weight loss or a sore that does not heal
  • Blood in vomit, urine or faeces, bleeding between periods
  • A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet are other signs
  • Moles with an irregular shape or jagged edges should be checked by a GP.

More: How to not get cancer, according to the experts

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