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GPs fail to spot cancer in third of youngest sufferers

TWO-thirds (61%) of young people with cancer visited GPs with at least one of the most common cancer symptoms -- yet for a third (28%) their doctors took no action, according to research.

A quarter (26%) visited GPs four times or more before their symptoms were taken seriously and they were referred to a specialist. The research, conducted at Teenage Cancer Trust's 2012 conference for 300 young cancer patients, looked at the experiences of 13- to 24-year-olds when they first experienced symptoms of cancer.

Researchers said their findings highlight "the serious issue of delayed diagnosis" in the age group. Three patients were told specifically "you don't have cancer". Other misdiagnoses included telling patients they were suffering indigestion, vertigo and swine flu.

The findings come as Teenage Cancer Trust launches the first Teenage Cancer awareness week in the UK.