Early diagnosis of cancer receives more pessimism from people who work for a lower wage than from those who are affluent, research shows.
Those in lower paid jobs are also more fearful than wealthier people to visit their doctor with a worrying symptom.
The attitudes of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds towards cancer were more fatalistic, a study funded by Cancer Research UK found.
More than 2,000 British adults were interviewed for the study and their thoughts towards seeing their doctor with unusual symptoms and early diagnosis were later analysed.
People were overall more realistic about surviving cancer, and believed that 50% of those diagnosed with the disease would survive for at least five years.
But on average, those who earned the least money were less confident that cancer would be cured.
The group typically thought that only 26% of those who had cancer would survive for at least five years.
Published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the study’s author Dr Rebecca Beeken said: “This study shows that people with lower socio-economic status may think it is less worthwhile to detect cancer early because they are more fatalistic about the outcome.”
The doctor - from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at University College London - added that the differences in the way people perceive cancer could lead to inequalities in surviving the disease.
- Beeken R, et al. Cancer Fatalism: Deterring Early Presentation and Increasing Social Inequalities? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. October 2011 20:2127-2131. Published Online First August 29 2011.
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