Common signs of cancer missed in young people

May 2, 2012

Posted by: Suzanne Trask


Two thirds of young people with cancer visited GPs and presented with at least one of the most common cancer symptoms, yet in a third of these appointments, the GPs did not refer them on to a specialist. A quarter visited GPs four times or more before they were referred to a specialist.

The research, conducted at Teenage Cancer Trust’s 2012 conference of 300 young cancer patients looked at the experiences of young people aged 13 to 24 when they first experienced symptoms of cancer. The research highlights the serious issue of delayed diagnosis of cancer in 13 to 24 year olds.

The findings come as Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young people with cancer, launches the first Teenage Cancer Awareness Week. Running from 30 April to 4 May, the week will educate young people, parents, teachers and health professionals about the signs and symptoms of cancer in 13 to 24 year olds. The charity has also produced a schools pack to help teachers talk about cancer in the classroom.

Over 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.

Whilst cancer in young people is thankfully rare, it is clearly vital that young people, their parents and health professionals know the warning signs so it can be spotted early if it does occur.

If you suspect that you have suffered a delay in diagnosing cancer, you can contact specialist solicitor Suzanne Trask on 0207 288 4834 or suzannetrask@boltburdonkemp.co.uk to discuss your options on a confidential basis, free of charge and without obligation.

Suzanne is a Partner and is head of the clinical negligence department.

Posted by: Suzanne Trask

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