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34 Percent of People Think That Cancer Occurs By Fate: Study

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A new cancer survey carried out in the UK has found that 34 percent of the public thinks that getting cancer is merely down to fate and that there is nothing they can do to prevent it. This is an attitude that will undoubtedly cost lives.

The survey involved 2,000 adults over the age of 16 and found that 34 percent of them believed that getting cancer, or not, was just a matter of fate and didn’t have anything to do with lifestyle, family history or any other factor. The older the person interviewed, the greater the chance they would think cancer was down to fate. About 41 percent of people over the age of 55 thought this.

They were asked to select what they feared the most from a list, including Alzheimer’s disease, old age, cancer, motor neuron disease, having a heart attack, being stabbed, being in a plane crash, being in a car accident, losing their job, being in debt and losing their home and the verdict was that more people overall chose cancer above anything else.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said, “The fear factor is a serious wake-up call for the British public. It’s absolutely vital for us to get the message out that people can do something to alleviate their emphatic fear of cancer. Spotting early signs and symptoms of what could be cancer – but probably isn’t – and getting these checked out by a doctor means that the disease can be diagnosed more quickly. When cancer is diagnosed early then treatment is more likely to be effective with a better chance of long-term survival.”

Various research studies have shown that stress can trigger cancer and people who are emotionally and economically deprived are more likely to die of cancer than those with supportive family structures. Research has also shown that smoking leads to cancer, as does poor diet, obesity, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough exercise, sleep and sunlight.

Certain contraceptives, medicines and even cosmetics containing substances like formaldehyde all increase the risk of getting cancer. There are positive steps you can take to minimize your risk of cancer. Here are a few ideas:

• Don’t smoke and if you do, try to quit.

Add a Comment1 Comments

I have to say that I'm not surprised by the fact that a large percentage of people indicated cancer boils down to destiny and that this feeling increases among older people.

I am walking my 90-yr-old mother (a early diagnosis breast cancer survivor of many decades) through every scan and test you can think of to now determine the cause of recurring fluid build-up in her lung. As I write here, http://www.4women.com/blog/?p=290, even the doctors seem to dismiss her as if the fact of her age qualifies just about any health condition as inevitable and destiny at that age and therefore not worth exploring too deeply.

Furthermore, my mom knows she is 90 and while she was very proactive decades ago, managing to catch her breast cancer early and having a radical mastectomy, her attitude now is so very different. She seemingly doesn't want to know.

I think your recommendations for reducing fear and promoting proactive behaviors are great, but I also think that among our elders, their attitudes might just trump any and all advice. Only if and when I live to age 90 will I possibly understand.

Thanks for the interesting post!!
Susan Beausang
President, 4Women.com

December 13, 2010 - 9:02am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.