It probably comes as no surprise that cancer is the number one cause of death in both developed and developing countries. While this is a grim statistic, the good news is that if certain types of cancer are found early enough in development, they can be treated successfully. However, this means that a delay in diagnosis can be deadly. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are three main sources of delayed diagnosis: the patient, primary care, and secondary care. 

Realizing that something is wrong first falls upon the patient. The signs of cancer are actually not readily-known among the populace, leading many people to put off medical care until it is too late. 

Delayed related to primary care fall on the shoulders of physicians that do not recognize cancer for what it is. It can be difficult for a physician to differentiate between patients who need urgent attention for cancer and those that do not. 

Secondary care concerns begin in the hospital, and even here there can be serious lag between falling on an ultimate cancer diagnosis and carrying out the correct treatment. If there are multiple procedures carried out to confirm the potential diagnosis, the situation may be prolonged further. 

Delayed diagnosis can occur at any of these levels, or potentially at multiples. The first thing is to ensure that you are aware of cancer symptoms and to act as quickly as possible if you believe that you have cancer symptoms. Self-awareness can help you get the care you need as quickly as possible. After this, it is important for medical professionals at all levels to act swiftly for cancer patients in need.