Earlier the better

The earlier we find cancer,
The easier it is to treat

Earlier the better

If you are worried about any potential symptoms, or have noticed an unusual or persistent change in your body, the best thing to do is to visit your GP practice. It’s probably nothing to worry about but if it is cancer, the earlier it’s found, the better. When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is often easier and more likely to be effective. For example, 9 out of 10 people survive bowel cancer when it’s diagnosed early. Today, more Scots are detecting cancer early, in fact a quarter of all breast, lung and bowel cancers in 2016 and 2017 were detected at stage one (the earliest stage).

In general, outcomes are much better these days. In fact, almost twice as many people survive cancer today compared to 20 years ago.* So, if you’re worried about any potential symptoms, your doctor wants to see you.

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A specialists view

Very often when someone is worried about cancer, it’s something they put to the back of their mind. Either because they don’t want to face it or are worried about wasting their doctor's time. However, timing is everything – the earlier a patient comes and sees me with their concerns, the quicker I can help them, which could save their life. If you notice a change in your health, any change, I want to see you. Whether you have unexpected bleeding, found a lump, altered bowel habits, weight loss, an unexplained pain or something else, make an appointment today. Sometimes those around you will notice changes to your health before you do, like a persistent cough. Don’t fob them off, follow it up. You’re not wasting my time, I’m here to listen and to help.

Dr Paul Baughan, GP

Cancer Screening

In Scotland there are three national screening programmes to test for early signs of bowel, breast and cervical cancers.

Find out more about screening

Real stories

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