Knowledge on cancer education and prevention and its use in the context of tobacco smoking in Poland
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The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute-Oncology Centre, Poland
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A107
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Cancer is the second most common cause of death in developed countries. Lung cancer is the most frequent cancer in the world and it occurs almost exclusively in smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke. Evidence of the association between tobacco smoke and cancer appeared in the first half of the 20th century. In 1986, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that smoking causes not only lung cancer but also respiratory, pancreatic and lower urinary tract cancers. In 2004, the official list of diseases caused by tobacco contained 14 different cancers. It is clear from this that tobacco smoke affects almost every internal organ.

The data comes from the Awareness of Cancer and Prevention survey constructed as part of the National Program for Cancer Prevention by the Ministry of Health and conducted in 2014.

86.5% of Poles reckon that everyone should take care of their own health and 84.4% of them believe they do so. 93% of respondents heard that smoking causes lung cancer and 96.9% of people think that giving up smoking can protect against lung cancer. 29% of people with primary, 36.5% with basic vocational, 27.7% with secondary, and 18.9% of people with higher education do not apply to knowledge and declare that they smoke.

Most Poles believe that they care about their own health, but declarations often differ from the actual state. Our knowledge does not always translate into behavior. The government should educate, train and implement preventive programs, thanks to which preventive actions will be associated not only with medical examinations but also with a healthy lifestyle. Preventive programs should be addressed especially to environments with a lower level of education.

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