An increased risk of cancer is still not being associated with lifestyle decisions by the general public.
This is the major finding of work conducted by the University of Leicester which found "there was widespread lack of awareness about the roles diet, obesity and lack of exercise play in the development of the disease".
Other details garnered by the research include that 20 per cent of people think cancer can be caused by physical injury – a perception based on research carried out over 50 years ago. Some of the 279 patients surveyed expressed a belief that fate or religion was responsible.
As the UN held its summit on non-communicable disease recently, many health professionals have spoken out about the effects of a poor lifestyle on people's health.
UK health secretary Andrew Lansley urged UN members to raise awareness of the carcinogenic factors like inactivity, obesity and nicotine consumption in modern lifestyles.