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Fear of bad news stops us from seeing a doctor

By Faeza
03 February 2017

Single, middle-aged men are the group most likely to put off going to the doctors for fear of bad news.

Finding an odd lump, experiencing a new pain or bleeding can be a scary experience, so you’d think going to the doctors to put your mind at ease would be the logical next step.

However, new findings from a report by consultancy Health2020 have shown that’s not the case, with around a third of adults delaying seeing their GP in case results come back with bad news.

As well as worrying that we’ll be diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, other “fear barriers” identified include concerns over treatment, hospital environment, being pressured, appearing weak, and that any treatment may lead to sexual dysfunction.

The report findings also found that smokers, heavy drinkers, people with poor diets and the obese are all less likely to want to hear bad news about their health.

Other findings show women are more likely than men to attend appointments and seek medical help if something is up, while men endure symptoms for longer. Married men are more likely to see a doctor before single guys, especially middle aged men, as wives generally encourage a doctor’s visit.

The report was led by researcher John Paxman, and states another major problem the results highlight is that people often fail to spot when something is wrong.

“Improving the public's ability to recognise symptom warning signs is critical to improving outcomes and tackling inequalities in this area,” researchers said.

Finding something early can mean the difference between life and death, so getting yourself to the doctors is vital as soon as you feel something isn’t quite right.

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