American Cancer Society researchers conducted in interesting national survey that was led by Ted Gansler, M.D., M.B.A to look at the prevailing myths about cancer in the minds of the public. They did a phone survey of 957 adults with no history of cancer to assess their understanding of the disease and its management, and also identify any associated misconceptions. Participants were asked if five misconceptions were true or false. And this is what they found -
- 50% Americans mistakenly believe surgery can spread cancer,
- 25% think a cure for cancer already exists but is being held back by a profit-driven industry.
- 19% believed that pain medications were ineffective in treating cancer pain with another
- 13 % either agreed (or did not know) with the statement that "cancer is something that cannot be effectively treated," 87 % correctly disagreed with the statement
Results of this survey are to be published in the August 1, 2005 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study clearly indicates how mis-informed is the American public about cancer.. It also shows that most people overestimate how much they know. It will be interesting to undertake similar surveys in other countries.
The authors conclude -"These results indicate that public and patient education interventions are most urgently needed in cancer centers, medical practices, and other community organizations that serve large numbers of patients with these 'at risk' demographic characteristics,"