STATE WIDE–If you are overweight and drink a lot, you’re at a higher risk for getting cancer. Both are problems in Indiana, but a new survey shows many people don’t realize that obesity and alcohol are risk factors. That survey, by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, also reveals that many people don’t know enough about e-cigarettes.
Three people in Indiana have died as a result of the mysterious vaping illness, but Dr. Richard Schilsky,senior vice president and chief medical officer of the Society, believes many more people could be sick because of e-ciga.
“Twenty percent of young adults…are regularly using e-cigarettes, and they have a lot of misperceptions about them,” said Schilsky. “Twenty percent believe that e-cigarettes are harmless. Twenty-two percent believe you can’t get addicted to e-cigarettes. Twenty-seven percent believe that flavored e-cigarettes are less damaging to your health than non-flavored e-cigarettes. None of that is true.”
Schilsky said that not understanding the dangers could be a factor in some people graduating to tobacco, which has been proven to cause cancer.
He said the yearly survey is necessary to find out what people think about cancer, so that the medical community can work toward correcting misperceptions.
“Our survey showed that only 36 percent of Americans recognize obesity as a risk factor for cancer and only 31 percent recognize alcohol as a risk factor,” he said.
Over one in three people in Indiana is considered obese, making the state the 15th worst in the country for obesity.
Schilsky said the survey also showed some people believe cancer can come from foods and objects, with no evidence to back up the beliefs. In other words, myths.
“More than a quarter pf people believe that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer and there’s no evidence to support that. Sixteen percent believe that cell phones can cause cancer. There’s no evidence to support that.”
He said that’s why the survey is important, to root out myths and come up with ways to disspell them, and to get people the right information. He said talking to your doctor is the best source, but if you are going online to get info about cancer, you can trust Cancer.net, which is the Society’s website; cancer.org, which is the American Cancer Society; or cancer.gov, which is the National Cancer Institute.