Research by Bupa has found that a quarter of UK employees (4.7m people) are too embarrassed to seek advice from a doctor when experiencing certain potential cancer symptoms. This can include vaginal bleeding, bleeding from the anus, and pelvic pains.
This suggests that despite the medical industry working hard to break down taboo, the stigma still remains. The research also found that roughly half a million people in the UK do not go to the doctor at all, risking a serious condition going undiagnosed.
With cancer especially, seeking help can be time critical, which makes delaying seeking medical advice through embarrassment even more of an issue.
The research found that symptoms relating in any way to the groin area were particularly difficult to discuss, as well as changes to bowel and bladder habits.
Despite doctors being fully prepared and trained to talk about symptoms with their patients, more than half of those surveyed were worried they simply would not know how to start the conversation. Two in five admitted they would prefer an initial phone conversation, and 35% had looked online for advice rather than a doctor.
Some providers of private medical insurance are trying to make it easier for their patients by allowing access to a video GP. With the above research suggesting that an initial virtual consultation could really help to break down the anxiety and embarrassment barrier in the future.
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