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Survey Finds Many Women Misinformed About Cancer
Date:10/26/2007

Deaths rates could be cut with more testing and early detection,,,,

FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Sixty-three percent of American women think that if there's no family history of cancer, you're not likely to develop the disease, a new survey found.

In fact, most people who develop cancer have no family history of cancer, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which sponsored the survey. The survey underscores the need for better education and understanding of the steps women can take to prevent cancer and to detect it early.

"Too many women are dying from cancer," Dr. Douglas W. Laube, ACOG's immediate past president and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said during a Friday teleconference. "An estimated 200,070 women will die in the U.S this year, and over 600,078 women will be diagnosed with cancer. The results of this survey found a worrisome gap in women's knowledge about cancer."

Based on the findings, ACOG is increasing its efforts to educate women about cancer and the need for regular screening tests, such as Pap tests, mammograms and colonoscopies.

Although the survey found many misconceptions about cancer, 76 percent of women surveyed did say they feel knowledgeable about how they can reduce their risk of the disease.

However, only 52 percent said they're doing enough to reduce that risk. And 10 percent said they hadn't done anything in the past year to lower their risk. Seventeen percent said they wouldn't change their lifestyles, even if changes would lower their cancer risk.

Many women said they were afraid to undergo screening out of fear of finding cancer. Twenty percent said they didn't want to know if they had cancer.

Other survey findings included:

  • Only 56 percent of women had seen a doctor in the past year
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