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Fear and procrastination . . .

Yesterday I wrote a post about “things I did wrong” which included not going to the doctor to check out a lump and not having an annual mammogram.  Today I saw this article in the New York Times:

A survey of 500 cancer survivors found that more than half of them delayed seeking treatment for two months or more despite having symptoms of their disease.

The report, from the Tower Cancer Research Foundation in Los Angeles, found that the biggest reason people waited to see a doctor was because they were simply waiting to see if symptoms disappeared. However, 15 percent of respondents waited one to five years after their symptoms appeared before finally seeking medical advice.

About a third of patients said it was just procrastination that delayed their diagnosis. But 13 percent said they were afraid of what the doctor might find, while 12 percent were stymied by insurance woes.

Because the data come from cancer survivors, it’s not clear how much it reflects the real world, where many people may die as a result of delays in seeking a diagnosis.

“Hope, fear, procrastination and lack of medical insurance were all powerful forces preventing people from going to see a doctor,’’ said Dr. Solomon Hamburg, president of the foundation. “Those surveyed were cancer survivors, but many people who delay going to a doctor for long periods of time for a diagnosis are not as fortunate. Early detection raises the bar considerably on our ability to help those in need.”  Article

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