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Public ignorant about key messages concerning diet and cancer
Date:9/27/2011

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Many of the two groups' assumptions about cancer were held in common. There was widespread over-emphasis on environmental pollution, stress and injury as triggers for cancer. Environmental pollution is a relatively minor cause of cancer, while there is no evidence that stress or injury can cause cancer.

Twenty per cent of the sample believed wrongly that treatment, in particular surgery, caused the cancer to spread and this was a cause of significant depression among British South Asians and anxiety across both groups.

The perceived role of religion in the cause of and recovery from cancer was more prevalent among the British South Asians, though a small cohort of the British White patients had some belief in Fate.

Nearly 30% of the total sample thought alternative treatments could be as effective as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This view was held by almost twice as many British South Asian patients as British White patients.

The way patients understand cancer can have a major impact on how they cope with it psychologically. This study is part of a wider investigation with the long-term aim of improving psychological support of cancer patients.

Professor Paul Symonds, of the Department for Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine at the University of Leicester, commented: "It is clear that there is a continual need for education into the causes of cancer. The good news is that the majority of the sample believed that cancer was curable and screening effective, while 84% appreciated that smoking could cause cancer.

"This shows that some messages are getting through, but we clearly have more work to do in educating the public on the effect of diet and obesity."

Karen Lord, PhD research student working on the project, said: "It is vital that those diagnosed with cancer have accurate information about treatment options so that they can make informed decisions about their care. '/>"/>

Contact: Paul Symonds
paul.symonds@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
44-011-625-86294
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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