Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Catching Cancer

Here's a somewhat misleading lede:
A recent survey poll conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support on 500 children aged between nine to sixteen years old found that 97 percent of the children were either not knowledgeable about cancer or ill-informed about the illness.  The survey showed that many children felt the disease was contagious.
Read the lede of this story and you'd understandably freak out.  Many think it's contagious?  Wow.

Turns out, only 4 percent think you can catch cancer from someone else.  Given we're talking about kids ages 9 to 16, that's hardly surprising.  To me, "many" from a poll means a number a bit higher than 4 percent.  What's fair?  I'd go with 20 percent as a minimum, off the top of my head.  Maybe as low as 10 percent.  But 4?  Nope.

It's unclear from this brief release exactly what "knowledgeable" is or is not.  One-in-five thought cancer was "absolutely fatal," a number I suspect is not all that different than an adult population.

1 comment:

Karen Russell said...

That's lame. And I think "know" or "think" is the wrong word anyway -- when my mom got sick the first thing my kid asked was "am I going to get it?" It makes more sense that kids would worry about it with a disease that's difficult to understand.

And then there's the whole thing about viruses that "cause" cancer... maybe the 4% aren't entirely wrong.