Most dangerous cancer symptoms knowledge ‘low’ in UK

Awareness of the symptoms of some of the less survivable cancers is low in the UK, warns a group of charities today.

The Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, LSCT, covers the six cancers, lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach. These have an average five year survival rate of around 16%.

Today, on Less Survivable Cancer Awareness Day, the group is releasing a report showing that symptom awareness is as low as 1%.

The report also explains that around a third of people in the UK have a friend or loved one who delayed seeking medical advice when they had symptoms of one of these cancers.

Such a delay can have an impact on treatment options and drastically affect survival chances, say the LSCT.

They are keen to improve symptom awareness for these cancers, which constitute nearly half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.

Chair of the LSCT, Anna Jewell, said: “It is deeply concerning that most of the general public are unaware of common symptoms of less survivable cancers. It’s one of the many challenges that we’re facing in the fight against these deadly diseases.

"All of the less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose. Screening programmes are limited or non-existent and treatment options are falling far behind those for more survivable but equally common cancers."

The group are calling on UK governments to commit to increasing survival rates for less survivable cancers, delivering on their commitments to invest in research and new treatments.

Commenting today, Dr Marnix Jansen of University College London, UK, said: “The symptoms of less survivable cancers such as stomach cancer can be difficult to spot or even non-existent until the later stages of the disease.

"Despite this, public awareness of the common signs is crucial if we’re going to tackle the problem of late diagnosis.”

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