AbbVie & Patients Association tackle 'Fear of Finding Out'

AbbVie has joined forces with The Patients Association to launch a quiz to help experts and the public better understand what lies behind the ‘Fear of Finding Out’ (‘FOFO’).

FOFO is a major psychological barrier which causes people to delay seeking medical advice and ‘sleepwalk’ their way into ill health later in life.

New research commissioned by AbbVie illustrates the negative impact of Fear of Finding Out:

  • The majority of people (61%) admitted they would consider delaying making a GP appointment for fear of being told they have a serious illness
  • A third (32%) of people admitted they would consider putting off making a doctor’s appointment because they are worried they will be pressured into making lifestyle changes - a fear which is a proven help-seeking barrier.
The findings reveal low awareness among Brits of the impact of not seeking medical advice early, which can lead to more complicated treatment and poorer outcomes.

The new quiz, developed by Live:LabTM, is the first step towards helping experts better understand what lies behind FOFO. Through ‘Crush Your FOFO’, AbbVie and The Patients Association will also be raising awareness around the importance of early diagnosis. Research has shown that late diagnosis places huge financial strain on the NHS, for example an extra £150 million spent on the treatment of cancers spotted too late alone.

The new research also highlighted the public’s misconceptions around delaying seeking medical help, with only 20% believing they could be a burden to the NHS if they didn’t get a worrying symptom checked out. One in 10 people also believe that delaying seeing a doctor about a health concern would have no implications, with their condition staying the same, and being just as treatable when they finally seek medical help.

‘Crush Your FOFO’ is a series of quick-fire questions. Depending on answers given, players will be presented with their personal health fear ‘gremlin’, a representation of the severity of their FOFO, along with the chance to virtually ‘crush’ it. Users who may be burying their heads in the sand about health symptoms are encouraged to visit their pharmacy or NHS Choices as a first port of call for more information, as well as a GP for any worrying health symptoms. The advice to also consider visiting a pharmacy with worrying health symptoms complements NHS England’s recent campaign which encourages people to visit their local pharmacy team first for minor ailments.

Gwenan White, Live:Lab project lead at AbbVie UK said: “We hope the public have fun with ‘Crush Your FOFO’ and listen to the serious message that lies behind it – that it’s important to get worrying health symptoms checked out as early as possible." 

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