2. Face the issue

So you’re worried you might have cancer?

It’s natural to want to avoid facing up to these concerns. It often feels easier to persuade yourself you’re probably fine so it’s not worth pursuing. And who wants to discuss embarrassing body issues with a stranger? Wouldn’t we all rather ignore them and get on with life?

False Reassurance

You might do a late-night search on Google and discover your symptom (or symptoms) could be explained away by a harmless condition: piles, or stress, or insomnia, for example.  There’s a very convincing part of the brain that only wants to hear good news. You use this as a reason to put off going to the doctor – you don’t want to burden your poor GP over something so harmless, right? If I leave it a while, it might still go away…

WRONG – the first hurdle to getting a cancer diagnosis is to overcome your own reluctance.

The NHS is there for you. While it might be embarrassing to discuss your bowel movements, or flash your wobbly bits, your life is worth this mild inconvenience! And even if it does turn out to be a much milder or more common condition, it’s much better for it to be treated or managed sooner rather than later.

Dealing with fear

Your reluctance might be powered by a fear of finding out. But while hearing the words, ‘you have cancer’ can be terrifying – the sooner you hear them, the sooner you can get on with what you need to do to put all this behind you.