Cork men wrongly believe in cancer myths

Cork men wrongly believe in cancer myths

MANY Irish men wrongly believe that cancer can be caused by laptops, injury and tight underwear, while they are still unaware of common cancer risks, research by Cork scientists has found.

The survey of 913 men was carried out by researchers at University College Cork in association with Breakthrough Cancer Research to investigate the level of understanding of cancer risk factors amongst Irish males. 

One-third of respondents wrongly blamed eating dairy as a cancer risk, while 44% incorrectly believed that supplements would protect against cancer.

“The results of our research show that a significant proportion of Irish males incorrectly believe certain cancer myths, for example between 45% to 52% believed that wearing tight underwear, carrying mobile phones in pockets or extended use of laptop on the lap increased their risk of testicular cancer," Dr Aoife Ryan, Dietitian and Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences in UCC and co-author of the research said.

"We also found that most respondents are concerned about developing cancer but worryingly less than 50% had sought information to help them lower their cancer risk. 

"These findings again highlight the need for straightforward, evidence-based information about cancer and risk factors. ” 

10% of respondents believed that ‘Bad Luck’ was the reason for cancer development while 12% believed it was too late to reduce their risk of cancer.

Only 48% of the respondents were aware that obesity is a risk factor for cancer while 31% were unaware of the importance of body fat distribution.

Many also underestimated alcohol as a risk factor in developing cancer, with 66% incorrectly believing that red wine protects against cancer. 

"The results of this research show that there remains a need for people to become more cancer curious and arm themselves with the information they need to lower their cancer risk," Dr Ryan said.

"As proven by the World Cancer Research Fund, small changes in our lifestyle can make a big difference to our cancer risk but most importantly these changes are within our control."

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