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Beliefs About Cancer Cures, Causes Depends On Country

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 12:27 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Cancer, Cancer Treatment, Alcohol Consumption, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, FDA and Prescription Drugs, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co, Novartis

Your attitudes about the causes and cures of cancer depend largely where you are from.



 IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ toasting with alcohol/ author: webphotographer


Your beliefs about cancer may largely derive from your country of origin and socio-economic background.

Countries with a higher income seem to underestimate the impact alcohol consumption has on cancer.

About 42 percent report alcohol doesn’t have any impact on cancer. It actually does -  increasing the risk of liver, head, neck, breast, esophageal cancers.

Compare that to moderate income countries, such as China, Indonesia and Turkey, where 26 percent of people believe there is a link between alcohol and cancer. In low-income countries, such as Kenya and Nigeria, 15 percent of the population links alcohol consumption to an increased risk of cancer. 

This survey from UICC, International Union Against Cancer, a non-government organization, focused on cancer prevention and behaviors.

About 30,000 people were interviewed in 29 countries with help from Roy Morgan Research and Gallup International.

``The survey reveals there are some big unheard messages,'' David Hill, president-elect of the UICC, said in a statement. ``These kind of data help us to quantify the differences between countries and to highlight where additional efforts are needed.''

Higher income countries believe cancer can be prevented through a healthy diet.  That perceived risk (59 percent) is greater than the perceived risk of alcohol (51 percent).  

The group says that “the scientific evidence for the protective effect of fruit and vegetables is weaker than the evidence that alcohol intake is harmful,” may be partially due to the lack of emphasis on the prevention of cancer rather than treating it after the fact.

UICC receives money from drug makers, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Merck.

People in lower and moderate income countries have a more pessimistic view on cancer treatment than those in higher income countries. 

In those countries, 48 percent said “not much can be done” to cure cancer.  Compare that to 17 percent in higher income countries.

Lower income countries are all too willing to let the doctor take charge of health care decisions. 75 percent said the doctor should decide the treatment.

While richer countries see that in an opposite way with nearly as many saying the decision should rest with the patient alone or by working with the doctor.  

Dr. David Hill, who conducted the survey, says the data helps quantify the differences between countries and to highlight where additional efforts are needed to change behavior.

Cancer kills about eight million people a year with about 11 million new cases diagnosed every year. #

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