Cancer Prevention

Published January 1, 2003

Most of us know there are ways to lower the risk of getting cancer, but we don’t seem to be doing much about it.

Among 1,000 adults surveyed, most recognized diet plays a role in cancer prevention, but only 38 percent said they could reduce their cancer risk by eating a diet of vegetables, fruits, and fiber–even though evidence shows healthy eating habits cut the risk of some cancers.

Nearly 30 percent felt taking vitamins or herbal supplements reduce the risk of cancer. In fact, there are no scientific studies showing supplements have any effect. The best way to get nutrients is from a proper diet.

Only 25 percent of those surveyed felt a healthy weight was important–yet research shows maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of cancer. Research suggests numerous cancers may be related to obesity.

Only about one-third of the respondents said they always put on sun-block before going to the beach or pool–even when they know skin cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers.

When it comes to tobacco, most know tobacco plays a role in causing certain cancers. Still, 39 percent of those surveyed said they continue to smoke.

Even though it’s your health, one thing seems clear: There seems to be a brain-gap between knowing what’s right and doing what’s right.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.