Fake Cancer Causes Being Believed At A High Rate

April 27, 2018

© Alexey Vecherniy | Dreamstime

Smoking, being overweight and overexposure to UV radiation are the biggest preventable causes of cancer. But false information and fake news is causing much confusion as to how those cancers are detected and can be prevented.  A recent survey of adults found an alarming number of people getting cancer risk factors wrong. More than 40% wrongly thought that stress and food additives caused cancer. A third of respondents believed that electromagnetic frequencies (35%) and eating genetically modified (GM) food (34%) were risk factors, while 19% thought microwave ovens and 15% said drinking from plastic bottles caused cancer, despite a lack of good scientific evidence. When it came to proven risk factors, 88% said smoking and 60% say UV radiation causes cancer. Believing in fake causes of cancer did not mean people were more likely to have risky lifestyle habits, but those who were better informed about the proven causes of cancer were more likely not to smoke, the study found. Compared to past research, it appears the number of people believing in unproven causes of cancer has increased since the start of the century, which could be a result of changes to how we access news and information through the internet and social media.


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