‘Stiff upper lip’ increases cancer risk

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IT MIGHT have helped the Victorians build an empire, but having a stiff upper lip could be putting Britons in mortal danger from cancer, researchers claim.

A study suggests that British stoicism may help explain differences in cancer survival between the UK and other high-income countries.

People in Britain were said to be more likely than others to avoid bothering their doctor over symptoms they find embarrassing and time-wasting. As a result, cancer sufferers were less likely to be treated at an early stage.

Dr Lindsay Forbes, from King’s College London, one of the lead authors of the research published in the British Journal of Cancer, said: “The UK stood out in this study.The traditional British ‘stiff upper lip’ could be preventing people from seeing their doctor.”

The study, conducted with the charity Cancer Research UK and pollsters Ipsos Mori, surveyed 19,079 people aged 50 and over.