UK & World News
Britons Ignore Signs Of Serious Illness
More than half of all Britons risk their lives and ignore the first signs of potentially serious illness, hoping they will simply go away.
According to a YouGov survey commissioned by private healthcare provider Bupa, two in five delay visiting their GP, even when they believe their symptoms could be an indication of serious illness.
One in three put off having such symptoms looked at because they do not wish to waste their GP's time.
Andrew Thom, 41, is a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police.
Fit, healthy, with no smoking habit and no love of alcohol, he chose to ignore bleeding for over a year, even missing an appointment for a colonoscopy.
An HIV test he received after performing CPR whilst on duty alerted him to his reduced haemoglobin levels - and, ultimately, a malignant tumour five centimetres from his anus.
He said: "I didn't know they were symptoms of bowel cancer. For about a year I was bleeding persistently, going to the toilet and noticing there was blood on the toilet paper and in the toilet.
"I personally thought it was piles. Being a typical heterosexual male, I just left it.
"Either I thought it would go away or I was too embarrassed to deal with it."
On learning of his diagnosis, Mr Thom began to feel angry.
He said: "Through my ignorance I thought that only unhealthy people suffered from cancer. I'm very sports-motivated, I don't drink or smoke.
"Because of the nature of my job I've always had a sports background.
"'Why should I have cancer,' I thought. 'It isn't fair, it can't be right.'"
Department of Health figures demonstrate that early diagnosis is hugely important, particularly in cancer cases.
DoH research shows that, where bowel cancer is diagnosed early, nine out of 10 early patients survive for at least five years, compared with less than one in 10 diagnosed late.
Whilst unexpected lumps or changes in the size and shape of a mole are well-known symptoms of serious illness - and more likely to prompt a trip to the GP - doctors insist that, if symptoms persist, you should seek help.
Dr Marie Tyrell told Sky News: "We are used to seeing and talking to people about everything and you will be listened to. We are quite happy for you to come and see us.
"Anything that's worrying you and lasts for more than three or four weeks and is persistent - come and ask us about it."
The research also found three in 10 delayed calling the doctor because it was difficult to make an appointment and more than half would not make an urgent appointment if they suffered a persistent cough for more than a few weeks.
Dr Annabel Bentley, Medical Director at Bupa Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is worrying that people put off seeing their doctor for worrying symptoms.
"It may turn out to be nothing, but seeing your doctor can help give you peace of mind.
"And, if the symptoms could be due to a serious problem, this allows you to discuss this with your doctor and work out the best plan of action together.
"Early stage diagnosis can be really important with some diseases, such as cancer."
what do you think?
Good job cause the NHS would collapse if everybody tried to turn up with a serious illness. I'm not slagging the NHS they do a wonderful job.
In my recent experiences my statement would be used to do a wonderful job.
It's coz we are hard as nails..... How about GP's quit dismissing every single ailment as "just a virus" or ''it should go away by It's self" especially when it comes to coughs. And why can't the symptoms of serious illness be publicised more to make people more aware
That's because we can't afford to be ill !
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
I have MS and call it a 'coathanger illness' as almost every ache and pain I have is put down to it.
Have those who wrote this report ever tried getting an appointment with their GP?
Well, I have an appointment with the doctor in three weeks time. Earliest I'm told.
Tried to book an apoointment this morning and have to wait 23 days. So much for the efficiency of the GP system
I live in France and usually get a GP appointment the same day I phone. Once i had to wait till the next day.......highly unusual.
There has been a TV Advert on for the past yr at least warning of these very symptoms and he chose to ignore it, because hes an heterosexual male. Well it just goes to show that even he, a normally healthy person can get Cancer. It doesnt choose who to infect, or it would go for all the dirt on this earth first.
I live in the US. I can walk into a doctor's office and be seen within 20 minutes.
I have done that in US. then the doctor phoned afterv 2 days to see how I was progressing
Doesn't that put a dent in your wallet though?
We got health care like that here in the uk......its called bupa.......!!!
you have.to pay though
you can never be too careful these days! i think GPs should be less concerned about how much time they spend with a patient and listening more. I find it hard to to tell my family doctor things but i will need to!!
Cripes - I'm amazed at all the comments about being unable to get a doctor's appointment for such a long time. If you phone here at 8am, you get an appointment the same day. It's very rare to have to wait until the next day. You have my sympathy - what use is 23 days later as someone posted here?! Lunacy.
Crazy isn't it? And yet the same in my neck of the woods x
And why I automatically put a kiss after that comment, i have no idea.
Cant afford to b ill.....u seen how much parking is at the derby royal.....!!!
Not all doctors are good doctors, mine your lucky if he/she husband and wife team take their eyes of the computer screen and when they do the only thing you can decipher, although they must have been here at least 12 years, is dont worry as they hand you a prescription for the cheapest treatment possable.I'm in my early sixties and until recently never needed to see them often,but because of the campaign on tv and ads of which I had the symptoms I went, no proper exam and came out with simple linctus, I still have the symptoms but now feel its a total waste of time to even go.