WASHINGTONMost Americans worry about developing cancer and being
overweight, but few of them recognize that excessive pounds are a risk factor
for some common cancers, according to a new survey commissioned by the
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Of those polled, 61% said they
were either very or somewhat concerned about receiving a diagnosis of cancer.
Yet when asked to name major risk factors for cancer other than smoking, only
6% listed overweight or obesity.
A recent review of the scientific literature by AICR found that excessive
weight increased the risk of six types of malignanciespostmenopausal breast,
colon, endometrial, esophageal, prostate, and kidneyby 25% to 33%.
In the survey, conducted by the polling firm Harris Interactive, only 14%
said they were not concerned at all about getting cancer and 24% said they
were not very concerned. A significantly greater percentage of Americans
earning less than $15,000 expressed concern about developing the disease than
those earning higher incomes35% vs 20%. And 73% of blacks said they were
very or somewhat concerned vs 60% of whites. Women are more concerned than
men: While 41% of the men said they were not worried about cancer, only 34%
of the women expressed no concern.
When asked about cancer risk factors other than smoking, survey
respondents mentioned certain chemicals (22%), overexposure to the sun (18%),
consuming a high-fat diet (18%), heavy alcohol use (7%), and excessive weight