Patients Are 'Myth'-Informed About Their Risk of Cancer

Seventeen percent of Americans think that there is nothing people can do to change their risk

TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of Americans are aware that body weight and physical activity affect cancer risk, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Researchers from the AICR surveyed 1,233 U.S. adults online regarding their risk of getting cancer. They specifically highlighted the three steps that can reduce cancer risk: keeping weight at a healthy level, eating a healthy diet, and being physically active for 30 minutes a day.

According to the report, 17 percent of Americans agree that there is nothing people can do to change their risk of getting cancer, and 24 percent were undecided as to whether they agreed or disagreed. More than half (58 percent) knew that they could reduce their cancer risk with a healthy diet, while only 41 percent knew that body weight impacts cancer risk. Only 39 percent of Americans understood that how active someone is affects their risk of getting cancer.

"We already know what we need to do to prevent over 374,000 cancers in the United States every year," Alice Bender, R.D., AICR's associate director for nutrition programs, said in a statement. "That number is real and reachable, and we can get started simply by taking the same healthy everyday steps that we know also prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases."

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