People fear developing cancer more then any other life-threatening condition, including AIDS, Alzheimer’s or stroke, a survey found.
In a poll of more than 2000 men and women for Cancer Research UK, more than a third of people (35%) said they feared cancer most, while a quarter (25%) cited Alzheimer’s.
Just five per cent of people questioned said they feared having a stroke most.
Other medical conditions people were most concerned about included motor neurone disease (7%), heart disease (3%), multiple sclerosis (2%) and AIDS (2%).
When asked which cancer they feared most, 16 per cent said brain cancer, because people thought they were most likely to die from it (57%), or that it had the worst symptoms (47%).
Bowel cancer was the second most feared cancer among men (12%), followed by lung (10%), and prostate (10%) cancers.
For women, breast cancer (13%) is the second most feared followed by bowel (8%) and lung (7%) cancers.
When asked about survival rates, 21 per cent of those surveyed thought breast cancer had the best survival rate while 12 per cent thought it was testicular cancer.
Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer is a very emotive subject and it’s understandable why so many people fear it among other diseases. Yet people should be reassured that we are doing all we can to find new treatments for the disease.
“Our latest figures show more than 80 per cent of women now survive their breast cancer for five years or more. And our research – which has helped lead the way in treating bowel, prostate and lung cancer – has been at the heart of that progress.”