Thursday, 26 July 2007

Many Americans believe unsubstantiated claims about cancer

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A new study from the American Cancer Society shows that many Americans believe scientifically unsubstantiated claims about cancer and that Americans bearing the greatest burden of cancer are the most likely to be misinformed. The study used a nationwide telephone survey.

For example, the study found that:

  • Nearly seven in ten Americans (67.7%) said the risk of dying of cancer in the U.S. is increasing.
  • Nearly four in ten (38.7%) agreed that living in a polluted city is a greater risk for lung cancer than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
  • Three in ten (29.7%) thought electronic devices, like cell phones, can cause cancer.
  • About one in seven (14.7%) thought personal hygiene products, like shampoo, deodorant, and antiperspirants, can cause cancer.
  • Six percent (6.2%) thought underwire bras can cause breast cancer.

In contrast, age-standardized cancer death rate has been decreasing since the early 90s and the 5 year survival rate is on the rise over the past 30 years. In another example, many respondents also believed that living in a polluted city is a greater risk for lung cancer than smoking a pack a day.

Males were more likely to believe the false statements as were those with lower educational levels.


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