As Covid-19 affects the health sector, and how we navigate our daily lives, many people have become even more detached from identifying other health issues that could lead to fatal consequences. Besides flu like symptoms, many Brits are ignoring their bodies and avoiding doctors and hospitals altogether. Helping to raise awareness, a new survey published by Bolt Burdon Kemp has explored our knowledge of cancer as a nation, and the results are alarming.
Despite 89,576 deaths being recorded annually for cancer in England, findings show that 88% of Brits are not able to correctly identify the signs and symptoms associated with this lethal disease.
As most of us are aware, patients have a higher chance of a full recovery if the cancer is treated early. However, this new research has shown that, perhaps, our own lack of knowledge is what may be the biggest risk factor of all. Only 12% of respondents were able to correctly identify all seven symptoms without picking an incorrect one.
Unfortunately, further findings from the survey suggest there is a long way to go when it comes to educating Brits about cancer. The survey found that, on average, 6 in 10 Brits can’t identify the body parts associated with major cancers. 13% of survey respondents were unable to locate the brain, whilst half of Brits don’t even know where the lungs are on the image of a human body.
The survey also revealed that 57% of Brits don’t know where the large intestines are, which is problematic considering bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.
Looking across the entirety of the survey, pancreatic cancer came out on top as the most misunderstood cancer overall. Half of the respondents said they don’t know about pancreatic cancer, while 7 in 10 said they were not confident about what they did know about pancreatic cancer. Over 6 in 10 respondents were also unable to locate the pancreas on a diagram.
According to Pancreatic Cancer UK, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers. This lack of public knowledge might be playing a part in this.
How to check for cancer
While it can be difficult to check for some cancers early – pancreatic cancer being one of them – there are some common cancer symptoms you can keep an eye out for. The following symptoms could be warning signs:
• Persistent cough or hoarseness
• Persistent unexplained pain
• Unexplained lump or swelling
• Unexplained bleeding
• Persistent change in bowel or bladder habits
• Persistent difficulty swallowing
• Change in appearance of a mole
• Sore that does not heal
• Unexplained weight loss
• A dark line on the nails
In general, if you have any persistent pain, ailments, or have unexplained changes occurring in your body, you may want to seek medical advice. By becoming more aware of our own bodies, and acting quickly if we spot any problems, we can give ourselves a better fighting chance against all types of cancer.
For more information regarding understanding cancer and its signs and symptoms, you can check out the study here: https://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/news-blogs/campaign/new-survey-reveals-knowledge-of-cancers-is-dangerously-poor/