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Patients believe stress is leading cause of cancer

26 August 2011 - 3:10pm

A study by the Cancer Council has revealed startling statistics about what Australians believe is causing their cancer.

The survey of 2,850 cancer patients has shown that many are simply unaware of how they can reduce the risk of cancer.

Almost half said they had "no idea" what caused their cancer, while a quarter did not know that certain types of cancer are preventable.

Australians are confused about the link between risks and types of cancer, as evidenced by the number of breast cancer sufferers who believe that stress was responsible.

Associate professor Freddy Sitas, lead author of the study, says: "Breast cancer patients were the most uncertain about what caused their cancer and when faced with no tangible explanation, many blamed stress from the financial pressures of modern living."

"Stress is linked to several health problems, but it does not cause cancer. My big concern is that if the community is unsure about what causes the disease, people may not take the right lifestyle choices to prevent it," he asserts.

Roughly 30 per cent of cancers are preventable, provided that individuals make a concerted efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to a healthy lifestyle, Australians should take out private health insurance to assist with the financial cost of cancer treatment.