Symptom awareness of deadliest cancers as low as 4% in the UK

4th February 2021

Guts UK is a founding charity member of the Less Survivable Taskforce (LSCT). The LSCT was set up by a group of charities all aiming to double survival rates of the 6 less survivable cancers by 2029. These are stomach, oesophageal, pancreatic, liver, brain & lung cancer.

The less survivable cancers have been neglected and underfunded for decades. Shockingly, the average five-year survival rate for these cancers is just 16%.

On World Cancer Day 2021, we are releasing data demonstrating that symptom awareness of the deadliest cancers is as low as 4% in the UK.

  • Symptom awareness of the less survivable cancers is frighteningly low. Covid-19 has exacerbated an already critical situation.
  • The percentage of people who would seek medical help for symptoms of the less survivable cancers dropped from 69% to 59% due to Covid-19.

The results of the LSCT’s UK-wide survey:

  •  Just 11% of people could identify oesophageal cancer symptoms
  • Only 10% of people could identify stomach cancer symptoms
  • As few as 5% of people could identify liver cancer symptoms
  • Frighteningly, 4% of people could identify pancreatic cancer symptoms

Symptom awareness of lung cancer and brain tumours were higher, but there is a dangerous lack in public awareness of these less survivable cancers and their symptoms.

Anna Jewell – Chair of the LSCT

“It’s very concerning that this new data shows that public awareness of less survivable cancers is still dangerously low. All too often the consequence of this is late diagnosis and a tragic reduction in life expectancy.

Typical symptoms vary depending on the cancer but key red flags could include any of the following; indigestion, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, a loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough, unexplained tiredness, headaches or nausea. The key message is to seek medical help swiftly if you notice anything unusual for you.” – Anna Jewell

Research into the deadliest digestive cancers is a priority for Guts UK. We want to diagnose these cancers earlier, giving people a fighting change. Please join the fight by giving £3 a month to Guts UK.

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