People could be missing out on life-saving early treatment for cancer by not visiting their doctor sooner, the Irish Cancer Society has warned, as new research shows that almost two-in-five people have been unable to afford a doctor’s appointment.

When asked what possible factors have ever stopped the public from visiting their GP, 39% said that not being able to afford the cost prevented them from making an appointment.

The research, carried out to mark the launch of Cancer Week Ireland, asked 1,000 adults whether any of a range of possible reasons had stopped them from going to their doctor.

These ranged from costs to fear, anxiety and embarrassment about their condition. 

The survey found that 3 in 4 Irish adults had previously not visited the doctors due to at least one of these reasons.

The research also found: Over two in five (42%) said they have been too busy to visit their doctor in the past, with 35% saying they had ‘too many other things to worry about’ to make an appointment. A significant proportion of people cited embarrassment (27%), fear (25%) or a lack of confidence (25%) in talking about symptoms as a barrier for going to their doctor. Almost three in ten (29%) were too worried about what their doctor might find to visit them. One in five (20%) were put off because they felt it would be too difficult to talk to their doctor about the issue or symptom.

The Irish Cancer Society, who revealed the research findings at the launch of Cancer Week Ireland 2018, which takes place from Monday, September 24 to Sunday, September 30, expressed concern that early signs of cancer were being missed due to social, emotional and financial barriers stopping people from consulting their doctor sooner.