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(Drug information on alcohol) use (7%), and excessive weight (6%).