A quarter of young people with cancer visited GPs four times or more before their symptoms were taken seriously and they were referred to a specialist, according to research.
A survey at a Teenage Cancer Trustconference for 300 young cancer patients asked for the experiences of 13- to 24-year-olds after they first experienced symptoms.
The researchers said their findings highlighted “the serious issue of delayed diagnosis” in the age group. Many patients said GPs told them they had an infection or virus, sports injury or stress, or told them to take painkillers. Three patients said they were told specifically they did not have cancer.
Delayed diagnosis is common in teens and young adults because the assumption is that we’re ‘too young’ to be sick. This is the result of social attitudes about illness and disability, and it’s another example of ableism at work.