Almost a third of young people with cancer are diagnosed in A&E because they do not recognise signs of the disease, a new study has warned.
Around 29 per cent of teenager, their parents and doctors do not act on the signs of cancer, and their health deteriorates until they have to go to hospital, according to The Teenage Cancer Trust.
It found 32 per cent visit the GP three or more times before being referred, and 24 per cent had been to been to a GP with symptoms but went to A&E when symptoms got worse.
Every year, 2,500 people aged 13 to 24 are diagnosed with cancer making up around 1 per cent of all cancer diagnoses.
As it is unusual in young people, the symptoms are often mistaken for other common illnesses.
Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in young people in the UK, accounting for 9 per cent of all deaths in males and 15 per cent of all deaths in females aged 15–24.
In light of these statistics, leading experts today unveil the five most common symptoms of cancer in young people.
The signs are unexplained, meaning it is not know what is causing them, and persistent, meaning they don’t ever go away.
THE FIVE SIGNS THAT SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED…
Pain – Pain that doesn’t go away with painkillers should be investigated
A lump, bump or swelling – Any lumps on the body should be checked by a doctors immediately
Extreme tiredness – Being so tired it is difficult to stay awake could be a sign of cancer
Significant weight loss – Losing more than a few pounds worth of weight loss may be due to cancer as cancer
Changes in a mole – Moles changing in colour or size should be checked out by a doctor immediately
The most common cancers in young people are carcinomas, cancer that develops from epithelial cells, which line organs and glands.
Common carcinomas in teenagers include thyroid, cervix, bowel and ovary.
Around 84 per cent of young people with cancer survive, and teenagers they have better survival than children and adults for brain tumours.
However, for other types of cancer, including bone cancer, survival rates are far worse.
This is because young people have a different biology to adults and children – they get different cancers and react differently to treatments, Teenage Cancer Trust said.
Young people must be educated about the signs of cancer to ensure they seek help early
There are also less clinical trials run with young people, insufficient specialism, and less research targeted at this age group.
For example, the treatment for Ewings Sarcoma, a bone cancer that primarily affects young people, has not been developed for over 30 years and has one of the lowest survival rates.
Young people with cancer have very low levels of participation in trials too.
Latest figures show only around 30 per cent of teenagers aged 15-19 and 14 percent of young people aged 20-24 enter trials for common types of cancer in their age group.
This is compared with with 50 to 70 per cent of children.
The Teenage Cancer Trust wants to work with GPs and develop tools to encourage young people to go to the doctors and support GPs in the diagnosis of cancer in 13 to 24 year olds.
Its chief executive, Siobhan Dunn, said. ‘Teenage Cancer Trust is committed to supporting early diagnosis as set out in the new Cancer Strategy.
‘We will be working with our NHS and Primary Care partners to improve awareness and diagnosis of cancer in young people.
‘Young people must be educated about the signs of cancer to ensure they seek help early and we need to work with GPs to try and develop a safe system for quick diagnosis.’
For more information on cancer visit www.teenagecancertrust.org
Written by Madlen Davies for and published at The Daily Mail ~ October 1, 2015
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