Fear and procrastination may delay cancer diagnosis

Following a survey conducted among 500 cancer survivors, researchers concluded that more than half of them had delayed consulting a physician, in spite of the fact that they had experienced symptoms of the disease for more than two months.

Being the way we are as humans, we are often afraid of confronting reality. Following a survey conducted among 500 cancer survivors, researchers concluded that more than half of them had delayed consulting a physician, in spite of the fact that they had experienced symptoms of the disease for more than two months. Moreover, 15% of those who were surveyed maintained having waited between one and five years after the appearance of cancer symptoms before they actually consulted a physician. The main reason stated was that they “wanted to see if the symptoms would disappear on their own”. Further more, 13% of the patients said they were afraid of what their physician might discover.

As terrifying as the prospect of having cancer may be, it is infinitely better to know as quickly as possible, because an early diagnosis increases the chances of survival in most cases. This is why it is so important you let a health professional know when you feel unwell, or as soon as you notice something unusual going on with your system. Here are a few signs that should not be ignored, particularly if they persist for more than a few weeks:

· The appearance of an unusual mass, or inexplicable swelling; · A lesion that does not heal; · A change in the shape, size and/or colour of a beauty mark, mole or wart; · Persistent coughing, or difficulties swallowing; · The presence of blood in the urine, feces or secretions; · For women, unusual bleeding, and nipple or vaginal discharge; · Painful urination, or difficulties urinating; · Any changes in your typical defecation; · Unusual weight loss, fever, or unexplained fatigue; · Unusual or inexplicable pain.

You should remember that these signs could very well be of little consequence to your health, and have medical explanations that have nothing to do with cancer! Nevertheless, your physician is the only person who can help ease your mind. When it comes to our health and wellbeing, we should consult a health professional as quickly as possible, rather than wait too long.

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