Widespread confusion about cancer symptoms among employees could be leading to delayed diagnoses and irregular self-examinations according to new research by Bupa UK.
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, however 53% of employees in the financial services sector are confused about what to check for when it comes to common cancers such as skin, bowel or lung.
The study found over half (56%) also say it is hard to remember the warning signs or physical changes they should look for. As a result, a third (32%) of employees have never checked themselves.
This confusion is one of the significant factors that could delay diagnosis. One in five (19%) employees said they have delayed seeking medical advice about a symptom as they “didn’t realise what to look for”. But for a fifth of these people (4%), this symptom was later diagnosed as cancerous.
Additionally, a third (35%) of those across the financial services sector would worry about taking time off from work to have a symptom checked.
Being able to recognise if something is wrong is important for improving survival rates, which is why Bupa has created a simple Cancer Check-CUP guide, which can be incorporated into health and wellbeing guidance for employees.
If someone experiences all three signs they should get medical advice.
Is something about your body different or unusual? Is something new, or does something feel ‘wrong’ to you? Trust yourself to know what is right and wrong and seek help.
Can you pinpoint why something has changed, why you are feeling physically unwell? If not, it is worth further investigation.
Have you been experiencing this or feeling unwell for longer than two weeks? Watch out for the symptoms that you can’t shake off.
Creating a culture where people feel comfortable discussing health challenges at work can help ensure that employees receive the support they need, but the research also highlights that for nearly half (46%), cancer isn’t talked about in their workplace.