More than a third of young people with cancer are diagnosed through admission to accident and emergency – nearly three times the number of adults diagnosed in this way, a new report has found.
The report from the Teenage Cancer Trust also found a quarter of young people diagnosed with cancer in A&E had already been to see their GP with cancer symptoms.
Around seven young people aged 13 to 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK and more young people die as a result than from any other disease.
The report, Improving Diagnosis, was released by Teenage Cancer Trust to mark the start of Teenage Cancer Action Week.
It acknowledges that cancer in young people can be harder to diagnose because the signs are so similar to other less harmful problems.
This means young people with cancer are frequently misdiagnosed with issues like infections, sports injuries and exam stress, the charity said.
The charity highlighted the case of Fay Turner-Paxton, 19, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in A&E at 15. She had visited her GP with symptoms including tiredness and weight loss but her symptoms were put down variously to anaemia, arthritis and psychological issues.
The charity is calling for healthcare professionals to become more aware of the symptoms of cancer in young people.
Chief executive Siobhan Dunn said: “We must improve the diagnostic experience of young people with cancer. We must empower young people to be persistent at the doctors if they’re not getting better and not wait until they have to go to A&E.
“If we all learn the signs of cancer in young people and share this information with friends and family, we can make a huge difference.”
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