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Why it’s important to get an early diagnosis

Thursday 2nd October

If you are worried about a health issue, sometimes it can be tempting to delay seeing your doctor out of fear of what he or she may find. 

But it’s important to be aware that an early diagnosis can have a real impact on how your condition is treated and the development of any further health issues.  

Early diagnosis has a number of benefits, including..

The treatment of your condition can be simpler and more effective

In a recent report, Cancer Research UK, revealed that 46 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

For example, if bowel cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, the chance of surviving a further five years is 90%, and a complete cure is usually possible. However, bowel cancer diagnosed in its most advanced stage only has a five-year survival rate of 6% and a complete cure is unlikely.

Statistics like these demonstrate just how important it is to seek help and advice at an early stage, if you develop any symptoms. If your condition has a chance to develop it can cause further health complications and may be more difficult to treat effectively

Early diagnosis can help uncertainty

Because it may not be clear to you why you are suffering particular symptoms, this can lead you to worry (perhaps unnecessarily) about what may be wrong. Speaking to a medical professional at an early stage can help give you reassurance, and while an unfavourable diagnosis may be upsetting news, you can get on the right path to treating your condition at the earliest opportunity.

Knowing exactly what the problem is and what can be done about it can help you feel less worried or afraid about what may happen to you.

You can access advice and support at an early stage

There is a wealth of advice and support out there for people suffering from particular illnesses or conditions. Charities, local organisations and support groups can be immensely helpful in offering guidance and advice for those who have been recently diagnosed. People may find talking about their worries and fears with others who have gone through similar situations can help them better cope with what they are going through.

In short, if you notice anything unusual about your body or anything you are concerned about in relation to your health, it’s important to talk to your GP about it at an early stage. If it turns out to be nothing to worry about, you have nothing to lose. And, if it is something serious, you stand a better chance of getting effective treatment and recovering sooner.  

Useful links:

Cancer Research UK – why early diagnosis is so important

NHS Choices – benefits of early dementia diagnosis

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