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Cancer fight 'hampered in UK by stiff upper lip' - Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust comments on study

Wed, 30/01/2013 - 00:00

Research published in the British Journal of Cancer shows that embarrassment is stopping Britons visiting the doctor and that a ‘stiff upper lip’ culture may explain why the UK lags behind other countries when it comes to beating cancer [1].

The research from King’s College London and Cancer Research UK shows that for cancer survival, the UK ranks behind many countries including five other nations looked at in the study.

Robert Music, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Director, comments: “This study is extremely concerning and is very much in line with results from our own research on cervical cancer symptoms [2].

“A study conducted by the charity looked at the reasons why women might delay a visit to their doctor if they were to experience a symptom of cervical cancer such as abnormal bleeding. The results reinforce the King’s College London study, with some respondents highlighting embarrassment as a reason for not seeing a medical professional.

“Our study also found that for younger women aged 25-34, more than 1 in 3 said that they had experienced abnormal bleeding (in between periods or during/after sex) but only 36% saw a medical professional and 48% did nothing at all.

“Our study also revealed that a third more women would visit their GP with a cold than if they were to bleed outside of their periods – a common symptom of cervical cancer.

“If the public continue this ‘stiff upper lip’ culture it could lead to a delayed diagnosis. This in turn could result in a more advanced stage of cancer, more invasive treatments, a poorer quality of life and ultimately a lower chance of survival.”

1. Cancer fight 'hampered in UK by stiff upper lip'. BBC Health website. Assessed 30.01.13

2. Third more women likely to visit a doctor with a cold than a symptom of cervical cancer. Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust website. Assessed 30.01.13