People are not taking steps to protect their health, despite becoming increasingly aware of the risk factors involved in cancer.
This is according to Dr Mark Matfield, scientific co-ordinator at the Association for International Cancer Research.
"The fact that people still smoke, despite knowing the dangers, suggests that awareness is not enough on its own to ensure that people avoid lifestyle choices that increase their risk of cancer," said Dr Matfield.
Earlier this month research was published in the Annals of Oncology, which found that there will be nearly 1.3 million deaths from cancer in Europe this year.
In every country apart from the UK a steady increase in the number of women dying from lung cancer was predicted.
In the UK, meanwhile, rates were found to be the highest in a decade but have begun to level off.
Dr Matfield added that people are generally rather poor in their awareness of other common cancer risk factors besides smoking.
These include obesity, poor diet and excessive alcohol intake.