publication date: Nov. 8, 2019

Trials & Tribulations

Major gaps persist in Americans’ knowledge of and actions on cancer prevention

Howard Burris III 

By Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO

2019-2020 president, American Society of Clinical Oncology,

President and chief medical officer, Sarah Cannon Research Institute


Each year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology conducts its National Cancer Opinion Survey to better understand Americans’ views on a wide range of cancer-related issues and uncover areas that need to be addressed.

So, what did this year’s survey tell us?

The 2019 findings raise serious concerns about an area of cancer that, as anyone who treats cancer patients would say, should be uppermost in all of our minds—cancer prevention. Unfortunately, the survey results suggest that a large majority of Americans are not trying to reduce their risk for cancer.

In fact, the ASCO survey found that only one in four Americans (24%) incorporates cancer prevention into their daily lives. This low rate is remarkable given research conducted by the World Health Organization shows that 30% to 50% of all cancer cases may be preventable.

Interestingly, our survey also reported six in 10 adults (57%) are concerned about developing cancer in their lifetimes. You might think that more than 25% of us would care deeply about cancer prevention and take risk reduction steps every day.

So, we’re seeing a disconnect between attitudes and behaviors on this point. Equally concerning is that a quarter of Americans (25%) … Continue reading Major gaps persist in Americans’ knowledge of and actions on cancer prevention

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Copyright (c) 2019 The Cancer Letter Inc.