Americans confused over cancer causes


    HEALTH WATCH — It seems like every day there’s a new study linking a type of food, household product or chemical to an increased risk of cancer.

    Sometimes the messages contradict one another. One study will find that eating red meat increases the chance of cancer while another finds no cancer risk.

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    A new survey of more than 6,000 people finds Americans feel helpless in the wake of the mixed messages about cancer.

    Nearly half of those surveyed said that “it seems like everything causes” cancer, and close to three-fourths of people agreed “it’s hard to know” what recommendations to follow to reduce one’s risk.

    The news media often focus on weak or disproved causes of cancer, such as hair dyes, power lines or cell phones.

    But the survey reveals that the confusion over cancer means that people aren’t doing the things that are proven to reduce cancer risk: lifestyle choices like not smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

    Simple health improvements like these can reduce the risk of nearly all types of cancer.