U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Majority of Americans and Canadians Expects Cancer Cure in Their Lifetime

And, about two-thirds don't see cancer diagnosis as inevitably fatal, Harris Poll finds.

Majority of Americans and Canadians Expects Cancer Cure in Their Lifetime

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A majority of American and Canadian adults believe a cure for cancer will be found in their lifetime, and that a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence, according to a new Harris Poll.

Nearly three out of five Americans and Canadians expect a cure for cancer in their lifetime. That belief is especially strong among those ages 18 to 34. Nearly three-quarters of young Americans and 69 percent of Canadians in that age group expect a cure in their lifetime.

And, about two-thirds of Americans and Canadians don't think death is inevitable when someone is diagnosed with cancer, the poll found.

However, Americans adults under 35 are more likely to believe that a cancer diagnosis is a death sentence than those 35 and older (39 percent vs. 29 percent). Americans whose lives have been affected by cancer are also more likely to view cancer as deadly compared to those who haven't been affected by cancer (35 percent vs. 29 percent), the poll revealed.

The poll was released to mark World Cancer Day on Feb. 4. It included just over 2,000 American and more than 1,100 Canadian adults. The online survey was conducted in late January.

"So many of us have had personal experiences with cancer or know someone who has," Harris Poll Vice President and Public Relations Consultant Deana Percassi said in a Harris news release. "In honor of World Cancer Day, we wanted to understand how Americans and Canadians feel about this disease."

Some other poll findings:

  • About 38 percent of Americans and 34 percent of Canadians believe a great deal of effort is going toward improving cancer detection, while 87 percent and 85 percent, respectively, believe at least some effort is being made.
  • Thirty-five percent of Americans and 30 percent of Canadians believe significant progress has been made in the fight against cancer in the past 10 years, while 87 percent of Americans and 83 percent of Canadians, respectively, believe some progress has been made.
  • About one-third of Americans and 27 percent of Canadians believe a lot of effort is going toward improving cancer patients' quality of life, and more than four out of five in both countries feel at least some effort is being made in this area.
  • Twenty-eight percent of Americans and 27 percent of Canadians feel a great deal of effort is being made toward cancer prevention, and 77 percent and 78 percent, respectively, believe at least some effort is being made.
  • However, only 20 percent of Americans and 19 percent of Canadians believe significant progress has been made in cancer prevention over the past 10 years.

Americans whose lives have been affected by cancer were especially likely to believe that efforts and progress are being made in all these areas, the poll showed.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.

SOURCE: Harris Poll, news release, Feb. 3, 2016

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