More than half of people have no faith they would receive timely treatment on the NHS if they were diagnosed with cancer, a poll has suggested.
The poll, by Savanta for the Liberal Democrats, also showed people are ignoring moles they think are cancerous and even attempting to remove lumps themselves because they think it will take too long to see a GP.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the results show the Conservatives have “broken people’s faith” in local services.
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Savanta asked 2,185 people how confident they were that they would be seen within a two-month timeframe if they were referred to a specialist for suspected cancer.
Some 40% said they were confident they would, but 52% were not confident and around 9% did not know.
People were also asked which of the following, if any, they had done because they thought it would take too long to be seen by a GP.
Some 21% said they had called NHS 111, 13% had ignored a lump or suspicious mole completely, 11% had self-diagnosed a lump or mole using the internet and 8% had gone straight to A and E with a lump or mole they thought could be cancerous.
Some 8% paid for private treatment to inspect a lump or mole and 7% had attempted to remove a mole on themselves or someone else.
Sir Ed said: “It’s shocking to see how badly people’s faith in their local health services has been broken by this Conservative government – to the extent that people are now putting their own health at risk by ignoring possible cancer symptoms.
“Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is vital for improving someone’s survival, but these statistics show that some people have lost confidence that they will get it.”
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Sir Ed has promised to introduce a guarantee for cancer patients to begin treatment within two months if his party holds the balance of power after the next general election.
He has previously shared how he lost both parents at a young age to cancer.
The Lib Dems are looking to make major gains at the next election and have around 80 “blue-wall” seats in their sights where they came second to the Tories in 2019.
They have been focusing on the NHS as part of plans to woo Conservatives in the rural heartlands.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made slashing waiting lists one of his five key priorities for government.
But the number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has continued to hit a record high.
An estimated 7.75 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August, the latest figures show, up from 7.68 million in July.
The data showed all cancer waiting time targets were missed.