Almost half of us have to be pushed to see the doctor

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
27 November 2012

We’re a nation of doctor-dodgers who would rather ignore our body’s warning signs and hope they go away than head to the doctor early for reassurance or if necessary, lifesaving treatment.

According to a survey by Cancer Research UK, around 40 per cent of people in the UK said they hadn’t made an appointment with their GP about health concerns until they were encouraged to by loved ones.

Predictably, men are less keen to visit their doctor than women, with nearly three quarters saying their partner encouraged them to make an appointment, compared to 58 percent of women.

Survival rates from cancer are the highest they’ve ever been and the charity is hoping its new campaign and lighthearted video (with a serious message) will convince people to get checked out early – the best way to increase your chance of recovery if the disease is diagnosed.

Backing the campaign is Dr Chris Steele from ITV’s This Morning. He said: “As a cancer survivor myself I know how daunting it can feel to take that first step and visit a GP when there’s something that’s been playing on your mind. Often talking to someone close to you about it first can give you a much needed prompt to take action.

[Related: 'Googling' your symptoms before heading to the doctors 'a good idea']

“It’s really important that we all get to know our bodies and get any unusual or persistent changes checked out. The chances are it won’t be cancer, but if it is, getting it diagnosed and treated at an early stage can make a real difference.”

Dr Claire Knight, health information manager at Cancer Research UK said: “Sometimes we need a bit of a nudge to make an appointment with a GP about any unusual or persistent changes to our bodies.

“Cancer is most common in the over 50s, but men and women of all ages who notice a change that’s hung around for a few weeks should get it checked out by a doctor. More than likely it won’t be anything to worry about but if it is cancer, spotting it in its earlier stages often makes treatment more successful, meaning the chances of recovering are much better.”

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