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Young People in Sweden Actually Believe Cancer is Contagious

Eighteen-year-old cancer patient Patrick McGill looks at a rack holding bags of chemotherapy
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Most young adults know that babies do not come from wild-eyed storks or highly potent drinking water, but a new study suggests they might be a little confused about a few other things.

According to research conducted by Swedish charity Ung Cancer, which consisted of nearly 1,000 interviews with people across 13 high schools, nearly half of young Swedes between the ages of 16 and 20 believe that cancer is a contagious disease, while 44 percent of them think that leukemia can be transmitted through contact with a person’s blood.

“We didn’t think their knowledge would be great but certain figures shocked us,” said Ung Cancer’s secretary general Julia Mjoernstedt.

“For example, only one percent knew that a vaccine is available against the human papillomavirus which can cause cervical cancer. It’s terrifying.”

Other shocking figures included only seven percent were aware that alcohol consumption was a risk factor for cancer, and even more shocking than that, 70 percent were clueless to the dangers of smoking.

While this research was based in Sweden, we wonder if some of the same misconceptions are equally as prevalent among young people here in the United States.

[Raw Story]

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