Embarrassment and fear of wasting a doctor's time affect cancer survival rates
Date Posted: 30.01.2013
Embarrassment and fear of wasting a doctor's time could be affecting cancer survival rates in Northern Ireland, according to a study.
The report involving academics from Queen's University, Belfast examined attitudes to cancer in six high-income countries.
It found that over a third of people surveyed in Northern Ireland do not get checked out immediately because they are worried about wasting the doctor's time. One in five people said they were too embarrassed to go to a doctor, the highest number in all jurisdictions surveyed. Northern Ireland also had a higher proportion of people who said they were worried about what the doctor might find.
The director of Queen's Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Dr Anna Gavin, said the evidence suggested negative attitudes can be linked to delayed visits to the doctor which could possibly lead to later diagnosis and poorer survival rates. "The good news for Northern Ireland is that overall, the study reported a high level of general knowledge regarding many symptoms and signs of cancer among people living here," she said.
"What is of concern, however, is that while 90% of people in Northern Ireland agreed that 'cancer can often be cured', only 70% disagreed with the statement 'a diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence'." The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer this week. Alongside the UK, it looked at attitudes in Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Of the six countries, the UK and Denmark have the lowest cancer survival rates.
Source : BBC.co.uk, January 30th 2013