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The Deadly Effect of Delay

Delay in seeking medical attention is generally agreed to be a major factor in success or failure in the discovery and treatment of cancers in both men and women. In my experience it is more often men who will put off seeing their GP and getting a timely referral but I understand that, statistically, there is little difference in the part that gender plays in health related procrastination.

A very thorough study of the reason for and effects of delay was published in the International Journal of Public Health in May 2010 and can be found here. In brief the study suggests that fear, unsurprisingly, plays a major role in delaying access to medical help in both acute and slow progressive diagnoses. Mitigating the effect of fear by communicating the benefits of early diagnosis, in addition to the more usual awareness of symptoms, is key to improving the rate of success in reducing mortality from cancers in particular.

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