CANCER is being missed in teenagers, experts fear, after a study found that more than a third of cases were diagnosed in accident and emergency departments.
The figure is nearly three times the number of adults that are diagnosed the same way, with the majority having already visited their GP, with many patients’ conditions being put down to infections or exam stress, according to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The charity fears that serious illnesses such as cancer are not being caught early enough by GPs.
Lori Kimbelin (pictured), 19, from Ashby, was sent to hospital after seeing her GP, but there was no initial hint that she could be have cancer.
She was advised to go to hospital for further examination on what was thought to be an infection.
It turned out she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Lauren Pearson, from Yoxall, diagnosed her own devastating illness at the age of 14.
She took to the internet having remained undeterred by doctors’ insistence that she didn’t have a brain tumour.
But Philip Needham, a GP in Stapenhill, explained that doctors can often be in a difficult position and believes the criticism is unfair.
He said: “With something like a lump, it may appear at first glance to be something less serious. Obviously it could be referred right away, but it might require further investigation over a couple of weeks or a month.
“But if it changes quite rapidly over the coming days, they will often go straight to A&E.
“A GP might want to see someone three times before referring them but then that third time they decide to go to A&E instead and at that appointment they are accredited with spotting it. That does happen quite often.
“A GP might want to try different things before referring, but that third time they might go to casualty.
“It is incredibly difficult with these rare but very significant things. Very often a GP will see someone only once or twice with something so serious.”