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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 06:47 GMT
One in three think cancer is fate
Cigarette and pint
Smokers were 50% more likely to think getting cancer was fate
A third of adults in Wales believe getting cancer is down to fate and are unaware many cases could be prevented, researchers have found.

Cancer Research UK, which surveyed 4,000 people, said more than half of all cases of cancer could be prevented.

But researchers found 33% of Welsh adults thought it was down to destiny, compared with the UK average of 27%.

The charity said it was alarming many people were not aware making lifestyle changes could help reduce their risk.

Gender, age and wealth were also found to be factors influencing attitudes to the disease.

Those over 65 were most likely to put it down to destiny, whereas men were less likely than women to take a fatalistic approach.

Stop smoking: It's the best present you'll ever give yourself
Stay in shape: Be active and keep a healthy body weight
Eat and drink healthily: Limit alcohol and choose a balanced diet
Be Sun smart: Protect yourself in the sun and take care not to burn
Look after number one: Know your body and see your doctor about anything unusual

People living in deprived areas were also more likely put it down to fate with 43% believing they had no control over whether they got the disease, compared to just 14% of respondents from affluent areas.

Smokers were 50% more likely than non-smokers to think getting cancer was fate.

The charity said it was "alarming" such a large percentage of the population did not realise that half of all cases of cancer can be prevented by lifestyle changes.

Hazel Nunn, from Cancer Research UK, said she was "very concerned" at the results of the survey.

Ms Nunn said the charity was particularly worried that people living in the most deprived areas of the country - where the risk of cancer is highest - were the least likely to know how they could protect themselves.

She added: "It is a very complicated picture - cancer is such a complex disease with so many different factors playing a role.

"But we do know for certain that half of cancers can be prevented by changes to lifestyle. The kind of factors we're talking about here are stopping smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, eating a health diet, trying to cut back on alcohol and being safe in the sun."

Watch more about the cancer prevention campaign



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