People could be missing out on life-saving early treatment for cancer by not visiting their doctors sooner, the Irish Cancer Society has warned, as new research shows that almost two-in-five people have been unable to afford a doctor’s appointment.
When asked what factors have ever stopped the public from visiting GPs, 39% said that not being able to afford it prevented them from making appointments.
The research, carried out to mark the launch of Cancer Week Ireland, asked 1,000 adults whether any of a range of reasons had stopped them from going to the doctor. These ranged from costs to fear, anxiety and embarrassment about their condition.
The survey found that 3 in 4 Irish adults had previously not visited the doctors due to at least one of these reasons.
The research also found:
Over two in five (42%) said they have been too busy to visit their doctors in the past, 35% saying they had ‘too many other things to worry about’ to make an appointment.
A significant proportion of people cited embarrassment (27%), fear (25%) or a lack of confidence (25%) in talking about symptoms as a barrier for going to their doctor.
Almost three in ten (29%) were too worried about what the doctor might find to visit.
One in five (20%) were put off because they felt it would be too difficult to talk to a doctor about the issue or symptom.
Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, said: “When it comes to cancer, early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. The society does a huge amount of work to inform the public about the early warning signs and symptoms of cancer so that they can get them checked out as soon as possible. It’s disappointing to see the range of barriers that are stopping people from taking action when it comes to their health.
“No one should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed when it comes to talking about their health. Nor should cost be a factor in accessing professional medical advice. If anyone has concerns about signs or symptoms or any aspect of cancer and are putting off visiting their doctor, we ask them to contact our Freephone Cancer Nurseline on 1800 200 700 for confidential advice (lines open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.).”
Cancer Week Ireland 2018, takes place from Monday September 24, to Sunday September 30.