UK & World News
Report: GPs Miss Early Signs Of Cancer In Young
A third of young people with cancer were not diagnosed early because GPs missed the signs.
A new survey has found that 61% of sufferers aged between 13 and 24 visited their doctor with at least one of the most common symptoms.
The Teenage Cancer Trust has said over a quarter of those had to see their GP four times before being taken seriously.
The research, conducted at Teenage Cancer Trust's 2012 conference for 300 young cancer patients, looked at the experiences of 13 to 24-year-olds when they first experienced symptoms of cancer.
Researchers said their findings highlight "the serious issue of delayed diagnosis" in the age group.
Misdiagnoses and feedback from GPs included::: Infection or virus (15%),:: It's nothing/you're attention seeking (12%):: Sports injury (10%):: Stress, depression or psychosomatic (6%):: "Take painkillers" (5%):: Eating disorder (2%):: "Come back in six months":: Three patients were told specifically "you don't have cancer".
Other misdiagnoses included telling patients they were suffering indigestion, vertigo and swine flu.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, national clinical director for cancer, said: "Early diagnosis is best achieved through the education of young people to increase their confidence in talking to doctors and helping everyone recognise the signs and symptoms of cancer in this age group."
More than a third (34%) of young cancer patients believe learning about cancer at school would have helped them identify their symptoms sooner.
The majority (59%) also want to see the signs and symptoms of cancer included in the national curriculum.
The findings come as Teenage Cancer Trust launches the first Teenage Cancer awareness week.
Running from May 4, the week will educate young people, parents, teachers and health professionals about the signs and symptoms of cancer in 13 to 24-year-olds.
Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust said: "We have been urging for cancer to be on the national curriculum for many years. We're still waiting.
"That's why we've developed our own education team to help teachers tackle this difficult topic and created Teenage Cancer awareness week to help raise awareness of the five most common signs of cancer.
"Young people need GPs to take a 'three strikes' approach.
"If a young person presents with the same symptoms three times, GPs should automatically refer them for further investigation."
Five of the most common symptoms and warning signs in youngsters are unexplained and persistent::: Pain:: A lump, bump or swelling:: Extreme tiredness:: Significant weight loss:: Changes in a mole
what do you think?
Am not surprised,but it's not just in that age range.I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 28 after being told 6 months before that to go away and not worry about the lump in my breast as they said it was a fatty bit of tissue!Luckily it got caught early enough,but I still had to go through the treatments and the hair-loss etc.Maybe all that could have been prevented had the GP taken me seriously and did their job properly.