Greeks passive about cancer

Half of Greeks believe that there is nothing they can do to avert the threat of contracting cancer, though a similar proportion recognize that smoking and unhealthy eating are major risks, according to the results of a new study. The findings come as researchers indicate a 25 percent increase in the diagnosis of cancer in this country over the past 10 years, with a particularly sharp increase in cases of lung and bladder cancer. According to the study, carried out by the Athens Medical School and the Center for Health Service Studies with a sample of 1,490 citizens, nearly half (45 percent) of the respondents displayed a somewhat passive stance, saying, «There is not much that people can do to reduce one’s chances of contracting cancer.» However, when the same respondents were asked to name the three main factors that contribute to cancer, the overwhelming majority (76 percent) said smoking, nearly half (45 percent) cited an unhealthy diet, 34 percent stated air pollution and 30 percent said high stress levels. Nevertheless, only 9.5 percent mentioned obesity and 7.5 percent a sedentary lifestyle, even though these factors are near the top of doctors’ lists of things to avoid if cancer is to be kept at bay. Of those questioned for the study, four out of 10 were smokers and half admitted that they did not exercise. According to the authors of the study, a significant proportion of respondents were overweight – 62 percent of men and 53 percent of women. One finding that generated the most concern among doctors was the fact that four out of 10 women said they were unaware of the need to undergo a Pap test for cervical cancer every three years. Of the women questioned, 60 percent said they had undergone such a test in the past three years.