A study has found that one in eight people incorrectly believe that coffee causes cancer – noting that they think it was carcinogenic.
The poll, conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), surveyed 2,092 adults though YouGov, and looked into the ways that people live, and whether it impacts them in terms of cancer.
This poll was created to highlight WCRF’s free eight-week programme, Activ8, which provides people with tips on how to make healthy food and drink choices, become more active – all things that help prevent cancer.
As well as 12 per cent of those polled incorrectly thinking that coffee causes cancer – when it can actually reduce the risk of some cancers – many respondents failed to recognise proven causes of cancer.
Proven causes include diet, activity levels, smoking and sun damage.
The research found that while 86 per cent of people thought that smoking increased the risk of cancer, only 60 per cent said that being overweight also caused the disease.
Meanwhile, 47 per cent of the people in the poll thought being physically inactive could be detrimental, and 59 per cent felt a poor diet could increase their risk.
Almost 59 per cent said alcohol can increase a person’s risk and 55 per cent said processed meat could be a risk factor.
The WCRF said that around 40 per cent of cancer cases could be prevented through factors including:
- Eating healthily
- Keeping your weight under control
- Staying active
- Not smoking
- Staying safe in the sun
Cancer Research UK noted that while “not all cancers can be prevented, there are things you can do to reduce your risk”.
Your risk of cancer can depend on many different things, like genetics or age – however, four in 10 UK cancer cases could be prevented.
The charity noted: “The world around us doesn’t always make it easy to be healthy – but small changes to your daily routine can add up.”
Dr Helen Croker, assistant director of research and policy at the WCRF, said: “These poll results show that many people aren’t aware of some of the steps they can take to help protect themselves from cancer.
“For example, it’s interesting to see that 12% of Brits believe drinking coffee increases cancer risk, when in fact we have strong evidence that it reduces the risk of liver and womb cancers, and some evidence that drinking coffee could decrease the risk of other cancers, including mouth and skin.
“For cancer prevention, there’s no reason for most people not to drink coffee, but for those who do, we recommend not adding sugar or other sweeteners, and drinking it in moderation.”
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