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Case Reports in Oncological Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 235943, 3 pages
Case Report

Avoidance Behaviours and Missed Opportunities in a Case of Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Barnet General Hospital, Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust, Barnet, Hertfordshire EN5 3DJ, UK

Received 9 November 2015; Accepted 22 December 2015

Academic Editor: Peter F. Lenehan

Copyright © 2015 David Kelsey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We describe the case of a 96-year-old woman who presented with a large fungating squamous cell carcinoma on her neck. In the Western hemisphere, it is rare to see patients with advanced tumours at their first presentation. We summarise the events leading to her late presentation to the hospital and explore the contributing factors. These may have included avoidance behaviour secondary to fears and misconceptions about cancer treatment. We conclude that healthcare professionals should be aware of these factors, and every effort should be made to address hidden fears and misconceptions when caring for patients with terminal illnesses. This will allay the patients’ anxiety, thereby enabling them to make an informed choice about their future care.