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Low cancer symptom awareness linked to lower chance of survival

In regions where cancer survival is poorer, people tend to have a lower awareness of cancer symptoms, say London researchers. 
low cancer

In regions where cancer survival is poorer, people tend to have a lower awareness of cancer symptoms, say London researchers.

In the first study in England to look at whether regional variations in cancer survival might be linked to regional variation in cancer symptom awareness and barriers to seeing a GP, researchers found that awareness of cancer symptoms varied greatly across the country.

On average, each additional cancer symptom recognised was associated with about a 1.6% increase in 1-year overall cancer survival for patients in that region.

East London had the lowest awareness of cancer symptoms and highest average number of barriers to seeking medical help amongst the region's residents, while the highest cancer awareness was found in regions including Peterborough, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Lead study author Maja

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In regions where cancer survival is poorer, people tend to have a lower awareness of cancer symptoms, say London researchers. 


The highest cancer awareness was found in regions including Peterborough,
Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Picture: IStock

In the first study in England to look at whether regional variations in cancer survival might be linked to regional variation in cancer symptom awareness and barriers to seeing a GP, researchers found that awareness of cancer symptoms varied greatly across the country. 

On average, each additional cancer symptom recognised was associated with about a 1.6% increase in 1-year overall cancer survival for patients in that region. 

East London had the lowest awareness of cancer symptoms and highest average number of barriers to seeking medical help amongst the region's residents, while the highest cancer awareness was found in regions including Peterborough, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

Lead study author Maja Niksic, from the London School of Hygiene and Hygiene Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Based on our research, we think that health campaigns should focus on helping people to recognise cancer symptoms early and seek medical advice – especially in socio-economically deprived areas where cancer survival is generally lower. 

‘Research like this helps reinforce the value of the government’s investment in public cancer awareness campaigns, and can be used to better inform and direct efforts.’


Niksic M et al (2016) Is cancer survival associated with cancer symptom awareness and barriers to seeking medical help in England? An ecological study. British Journal of Cancer. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.246

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