Even when the issue may be relatively minor, a visit to the GP can be fraught with anxiety. That feeling can be far worse if we are dealing with the unknown.
Unexpected changes in our bodies or symptoms we might associate with a serious condition should always be discussed with a doctor. People often delay making an appointment when they are worried about their symptoms, but it is vital anything unusual is checked out as soon as possible.
There are many reasons why people don’t want to see a doctor but many of them are based around fear. Fear of bad news, fear of embarrassment, fear of being examined and asked to discuss things we never have before. Along with the very real concern that what the doctor will say will lead to more visits and treatments that will cause pain and side effects.
What we all must remember is that your GP and any other medical professional who comes into contact with you, will do so with your very best interests at heart. That means the correct diagnosis, the best possible care and support and the right treatment, all put into practice because you made the right choice by raising concerns with your GP sooner rather than later.
The importance of early diagnosis and intervention cannot be overstated. Many cancer-related conditions can be diagnosed earlier and treated successfully as a result from recognising and responding to change in our bodies.
Those changes might be relatively minor, such as changes in warts or moles, changes in bladder and bowel habits, unusual lumps or sores that won’t heal and unusual bleeding. There is every possibility that a less serious diagnosis is made and treatment can commence but in the unlikely event that that isn’t the case then catching the issue early nearly always makes a significant difference, both to the scale of the treatment and the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Many heart related problems can also be diagnosed and treated much earlier, again by listening to and responding to the signs in our own bodies. Symptoms such as pain or tightness in the chest and arms, repetitive heartburn and shortness of breath, cold sweats and light headedness or sudden dizziness should always be talked through with your GP. Again, the diagnosis might not be the thing you feared but if it is something that needs more investigation and potential treatment to manage or solve, it is always worth overcoming your fears and talking honestly with your doctor as soon as possible.
Doctors and other medical professionals are trained to have difficult conversations, to ask the right questions and most of all, to listen. Empathy, kindness, and a non-judgmental attitude are all vital skills in the GP’s daily life.
You are not alone. Many people feel uncomfortable in these situations, but remember early detection saves lives.