Research by the Be Clear on Cancer campaign has found people in the North East are less likely to name the most common causes of cancer and most likely to delay visiting their doctor because of fear over what they might find.
The survey was carried out for the Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to encourage early diagnosis of cancer by helping people to recognise the warning signs of the disease.
The research was carried out across parts of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to assess levels of cancer awareness including the signs and symptoms of different types of cancer, what help is available and how to get it.
Tom Kyle from Rowlands Gill believes early diagnosis saved his life after his wife encouraged him to visit his GP.
Mr Kyle, a former local authority manager was preparing for a holiday to Nepal when he began experiencing the symptoms of bowel cancer.
– Tom Kyle
The daft thing is, I'd visited both my GP and the nurse during our preparations for the Nepal holiday and had plenty of opportunity to mention how I was feeling but didn't. And I still can't tell you when I didn't. I think I was just not used to being ill.
VIDEO: Department of Health, Be Clear on Cancer advertisement.
Most people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 50 years old and those with a family history of the disease are more at risk. However, the sooner a patient is diagnosed, the better their chances of successful treatment and over 90% of those diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer are successfully treated.
Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more should see their GP straight away. These include:
- blood in your poo or looser poo
- a pain or lump in your stomach
- feeling more tired than usual for some time
- losing weight for no obvious reason.
Medical Director for the North of England Cancer Network talks to ITV Tyne Tees about how to recognise possible symptoms and why people shouldn't hesitate to get checked.