Posted on 04/02/2019

SURVEY RESULTS: Women worry more about everyday cancer risks, but men are concerned with the bigger picture

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SURVEY RESULTS: Women worry more about everyday cancer risks, but men are concerned with the bigger picture

Results from our recent survey have revealed that women are more likely to worry about everyday food, drink and activities that may increase our risk of getting cancer whereas men are more concerned about the bigger picture – such as fracking.

Our survey listed foods, drinks and activities which scientists have reported may put us at greater risk of developing cancer. We then asked members of the general public to select what they would be happy to continue eating, drinking or taking part in, despite the potential health concerns.

Attitudes towards cancer risks differ greatly between genders

Results showed that although men are more concerned than women about things such as “fracking” or “catching a potential cancer-causing virus”, they would be happy to continue eating and drinking many of the everyday items which scientists say could increase our risks of getting cancer. Men are also less concerned about daily activities such as smoking or sunbathing.

  • 58% of males are happy to sunbathe compared to 38% of females
  • 15% of males are happy to smoke compared to 9% of females
  • 88% of males are happy drink alcohol compared to 59% of females
  • 50% of males are happy drink fizzy pop compared to 26% of females
  • 69% of males are happy to eat processed meats, like sausages, compared to 53% of females
  • 62% of males are happy to eat processed foods, like ready meals, compared to 37% of females
  • 69% of males are happy to eat high sugar foods compared to 53% of females



  • 69% of males AND females are concerned about air pollution
  • 31% of males are concerned about breathing in wood dust compared to 26% of females
  • 62% of males are concerned about catching potential cancer-causing virus compared to 46% of females
  • 27% of males are concerned about drinking coffee which contains acrylamide compared to 24% of females
  • 46% of males are concerned about fracking compared to 39% of females
  • 46% of males are concerned about family genetics which cause cancer compared to 64% of females
  • 8% of males said none of the options given were a concern compared to 4% of females


Age does makes a difference

As well as asking participants for their gender, the survey gave those taking part 6 age brackets to choose from. Results showed that willingness to drink fizzy pop, alcohol or water from a bottle made of polycarbonate BPA plastic decreased with age. 34% of those aged 66-75 said they would choose to drink “None of the above”, but no-one aged “18-25” selected this option.

Other interesting results showed:

  • Those aged 26-35 are most likely to take part in smoking (33%) and most likely to work a night shift (44%)
  • 31% of those aged 18-25 would be happy being intimate with someone who hasn’t had a HPV vaccine, compared with just 13% of those aged 36-45 and 3% of those aged 66-75
  • Although 31% of those aged 18-25 said they would be happy to be intimate with someone who hasn’t had a HPV vaccine, 81% answered that they are concerned about catching a potential cancer-causing virus
  • Although 38% of those aged 18-25 said they would be happy to live or work in a built up area with lots of car fumes (the highest percentage of all the age brackets), 81% answered that air pollution is a concern to them



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