Brits too polite to waste doctors’ time

A study has found being worried about wasting a doctor’s time could be one of the reasons the UK has a lower one-year cancer survival rate than many other high-income countries. 

International researchers carried out a telephone survey of around 19,000 people aged 50 and older from Australia, Denmark, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the UK, asking questions about awareness of cancer symptoms, beliefs about the illness and symptomatic presentation. 

The researchers found some difference in awareness of cancer symptoms and beliefs about cancer outcomes, however the biggest variation in answers concerned barriers to presentation. 

More than a third of UK participants were likely to be concerned about wasting a doctor’s time, compared to 9% of respondents from Sweden. And UK participants were also the most likely to feel embarrassed about going to the doctor with a serious symptom. 

“The traditional British