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Home Industry News People ‘overly worried’ about hereditary cancer

People ‘overly worried’ about hereditary cancer

31st July 2007

People are overly worried about their risk of hereditary cancer, a new survey has found.

The poll by Cancerbackup and Genes Reunited unveiled a low level of public awareness about what increases the risk of cancer.

It found that 91 per cent of people falsely believe that if someone in their family has had cancer, they have a greater chance of getting cancer themselves. In the majority of cases, this would not significantly increase someone’s risk.

Over a half of those surveyed said they think family history is the biggest risk factor for cancer and just 15 per cent knew it is actually age.

“Worrying about cancer can be very debilitating and it is sad that people are not aware of the reality, that very few cancers are caused by a known inherited genetic link,” said Dr Andrea Pithers, Cancerbackup genetic information manager.

“People should know about how they can lower their risk with things they can actually change, like eating a healthy diet and exercise.”

The factors that increase the chance there could be a hereditary cancer link in a family are if there are a number of relatives on the same side of the family with the same type of cancer and if they were young and closely related.

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