Which really can cause cancer – your mobile phone, obesity, a plastic bottle or smoking? Not everyone agrees.

Randox Health

Too many of us are worrying about fake causes of cancer, and shockingly don’t know about the real ones according to a new study. With around four in ten cancers preventable through lifestyle changes alone, understanding exactly what is a risk factor is critical.

For example 40% of the 1330 people surveyed identified stress as a cause of cancer. However, although it can lower your immune system and weaken your digestion, it thankfully isn’t a cause.

Other popular cancer-causing myths debunked include drinking from a plastic bottle (15% thought this caused it), microwave ovens (19%) and using a mobile phone (20%).

Surprisingly 14% of people disagreed that smoking was a direct cause of the disease, despite global recognition that it is the single biggest preventable cause.

The second biggest cause of cancer is the focus of the current Cancer Research campaign. The digital campaign shows people on the street being asked to identify it. No-one picks the right answer and all are surprised that it’s actually obesity. This reflects what they found in the survey – the authors said it was ‘poorly recognised’.

Less than 45% of people were able to identify other main risk factors such as doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week, eating red or processed meat, not eating five portions of fruit and veg, or drinking more than a unit of alcohol each day.

Cancer Research UK say more than 2500 cases of cancer could be prevented every week in the UK if people were able to make relevant lifestyle changes. It sponsored the survey, which was carried out by University College London and the University of Leeds. One of the authors, Dr Samuel Smith, from the University of Leeds, said:

“It’s worrying to see so many people endorse risk factors for which there is no convincing evidence. Compared to past research it appears the number of people believing in unproven causes of cancer has increased since the start of the century which could be a result of changes to how we access news and information through the internet and social media. It’s vital to improve public education about the causes of cancer if we want to help people make informed decisions about their lives and ensure they aren’t worrying unnecessarily.”

At Randox Health we believe that in order to extend your life, accurate information is everything. That’s why we carry out up to 350 tests in each of our health checks, to assess whole body heath and provide a complete picture of your current health – and also identify your own personal risk factors for the future.

Extend your life through facts, not fiction.

Click here to find out more or phone us on 0800 2545 130.