Perceptions of Risk Survey
Each year we survey a sample of the population to find out what they know about cancer risk factors and symptoms. Our latest annual survey sampling approximately 4,000 people from around the UK showed that people know little about the lifestyle risks associated with cancer.
- Download a PDF of the full report.
One key finding from the study is that only three percent of those polled knew that body weight is a factor which influences cancer risk.
3,947 people were asked: “What are the main changes people can make to their lifestyles to reduce the risk of cancer?” Participants, who were not given a list of options to choose from, named the below factors in response.
|Food and diet||59%|
|Sun and skincare||10%|
|Don’t know / nothing||7%|
About a third (31%) of people mentioned 3 or more of the above lifestyle changes.
The survey also showed that people’s awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer is low.
In response to the question “Can you name any sign or symptoms that could be an indication of cancer?” participants, who were not given a list of options to choose from, named these factors in response.
|Couldn't name any symptoms or said 'none'||Overall : 14% ± 1%; Male: 19% ± 2%; Female: 10% ± 1%; White: 13% ± 1%; Ethnic minority groups: 28% ± 5%|
|Lump||56% ± 2%|
|Skin problem||25% ± 1%|
|Moles||17% ± 1%|
|Weight loss||Male: 16% ± 2%; Female: 22% ± 2%|
|Bowel, Urinary, or toilet problems||19% ± 1%|
You can find out more about the signs of cancer on our Spot Cancer Early site.
The last major finding of the survey was that more than half of sunburn cases last year happened at home in the UK.
Participants were asked “Last summer, did you get sunburnt at all?” 22% of people said yes, (Male 23%, Female 22%) (White 24% Ethnic minority 6%) (36% Male aged 15-24, 35% Female aged 15-24)
Those who said 'yes' to the first question were then asked “Did you get sunburnt in the UK?” and “Did you get sunburnt abroad?”
56% of those with sunburn suffered in the UK, (Male 54%, Female 57%), (White 56%, Ethnic minority 24%) (People aged 15-24 52%, those aged 65+ 61%).
54% of those with sunburn suffered abroad, (Male 56%, Female 52%) (White 54%, Ethnic minority 76%) (People aged 15-24 60%, those aged 65+ 48%).
Just over 10% of people who got sunburnt last summer were sunburnt both in the UK and abroad.
Find out more about sunburn and skin cancer on our SunSmart site.
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team