At the end of July 2009, I went to the GP’s for the first time about my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma symptoms. I say symptoms plural. Although, back in the July, it was just one symptom. Alcohol induced pain. It took a further two visits over another four months before I even got referred for an x-ray and then another two months until I was finally diagnosed. A total of six months and twenty days from my first visit, until diagnosis. By that point, I had a persistent cough. When I say persistent, I couldn’t even get through a sentence without coughing.
This might sound unusual, however, a survey undertaken by the Teenage Cancer Trust has shown that out of 300 patients they asked, doctors had missed common signs of cancer in a third of them. And on top of this, a quarter of the patients said they had to go back to their GP at least four times before they were diagnosed. I guess I should be grateful I only had to go back three times.
You don’t always get a lump when you have cancer. I didn’t. My mass was in my chest and there was no cancer present anywhere else. So, often, the symptoms are mistaken for a virus.
Last week, the Teenage Cancer Trust launched it’s first cancer awareness week and are trying to get schools to talk about cancer in the classroom to make youngsters aware of the signs and symptoms.
The most common cancer in youngsters is Lymphoma, and Lymphoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK.
We trust our GP’s. And most of the time we should, Most of the time it will be a virus, or something non serious. But we need to make ourselves aware of the signs and symptoms that it could be something more serious and not be worried about being persistent with doctors if we feel the need.