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'Cancer is contagious': Swedish teenagers

'Cancer is contagious': Swedish teenagers

Published: 22 Aug 2012 10:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2012 10:03 GMT+02:00

Nearly 50 percent of Swedish teenagers think that cancer is contagious and 70 percent didn’t know that it's possible to vaccinate against cervical cancer, according to a new study carried out by organization Ung Cancer (Young Cancer).

“It feels strange to think that a large number of high schools students have missed that cancer isn’t infectious,” said Julia Mjörnstedt, secretary general of the organization to Göteborgsposten (GP).

The survey was taken by 945 students in 13 high schools in counties Västra Götaland and Skåne during the spring. It showed significant gaps in knowledge among Sweden’s teenage population.

46 percent of those asked believed that leukaemia can spread through contact with open wounds and only one percent was aware that girls can get vaccinated against cervical cancer.

The majority of the teenagers, some 70 percent, knew that smoking could lead to cancer, and almost 50 percent were aware that too much tanning could give skin cancer. However, 24 percent thought you will only develop malign melanoma if your skin is burned or if you use sunbeds.

“Unfortunately there are very few who address cancer and sickness prevention with young people. It doesn’t seem to fit into the current high school curriculum,” Mjörnstedt told GP.

The organization is a charity for young cancer victims between 16 and 30. The study was carried out in collaboration with the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden) and the Regional Cancer Centre for western Sweden; Regionalt Cancer centrum Väst.

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Your comments about this article

14:12 August 22, 2012 by Borilla
Is this an example of the "expertise" of the Swedish educational system or are they adopting the American approach that one should simply not talk about things like this?
16:30 August 22, 2012 by nonie492
Dear Borilla, I am an American living in Sweden. I find Sweden to be a very beautiful country with well educated , friendly people. I am always surprised and hurt to read comments like yours. I do not understand your need to say negative things about the educational system in America. In our schools we are very well educated about cancer in both science and health class. I find it sad that whenever something negative is reported in your newspaper that concerns Sweden, many people dismiss the problems here by making some horrible comment about the USA. I think it is better to find a solution to a problem instead of diverting the attention elsewhere.
16:57 August 22, 2012 by themoron
themoron says: Teenagers' behaviour is contagious and outrageous. Worse than cancer.
17:55 August 22, 2012 by Ulvenkai
Ridiculous. Sweden's youth are clearly becoming as ignorant as Americans.
18:13 August 22, 2012 by Eric1
This is the result of turning schools into entertainment, and politically correct socialist indoctrination centers.
22:38 August 22, 2012 by redfish
"70 percent didn't know that it's possible to vaccinate against cervical cancer."

Lol, this is the worst double-talk. Apparently its not contagious, but you can vaccinate against it to prevent you from catching it from others!

You can't vaccinate against cancer, you can only vaccinate against a particular bacterial agent that is carcinogenic. Maybe the kids thought cancer is contagious because of people like this saying you can vaccinate against it!

Maybe the finger needs to be pointed at groups like Young Cancer for creating these wrong impressions in the first place by using that type of double-talk.
23:00 August 22, 2012 by BackpackerKev
Not surprised in the slightest. Swedish people are ignorant of so many things that we are taught in other countries..

@redfish

The vaccine is the HPV vaccine,protects against the two HPV types (HPV-16 and HPV-18) that cause 70% of cervical cancers, 80% of anal cancers, 60% of vaginal cancers, and 40% of vulvar cancers.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in adults, so there is a vaccine and the virus is contagious.
00:59 August 23, 2012 by redfish
@backpackerkev,

Yea that's not even my point. If you're going to tell people the vaccine is for cancer and not for HPV, which causes cancer, don't be shocked and surprised when people say cancer is infectious.

The poll doesn't reveal ignorance, it just reveals what people have been taught.
08:50 August 23, 2012 by smilingjack
your kidding arent you no2? in australia our yr11 kids do exchanges with yr12 kids from america. our kids comments are how easy was that where as the yank kids struggle.

america where the kids are taught the world was created by a god and that sex before marriage will send you to hell.

in australia where the cervical cancer vaccine was developed the american backed christian church ran a smear campaign trying to stop girls being immunised. luckily it didnt work.

mitt romney if elected will ban abortions. you couldnt get a more backward uneducated country. just believe in jesus.

swedish kids all wear yank hats and clothes - for the hats the only ones available are of yank teams. I went to a shopping centre in sickl kaj yesterday to be greeted with a huge american flag at the entrance.

sedish kids most definately are going down the american path to the detriment of sweden.

try looking at family guy creationism on youtube for a giggle. the world is hundreds and hundreds of years old - as taught in american schools. science - no way.
11:12 August 23, 2012 by Borilla
#2 I am an American who not only lives in Sweden but is also a Swedish citizen. Sweden is a beautiful country populated by nice people. However, its educational system has taken a nose-dive. Many Swedes agree, as you can see from the comments, and we all hope it can be saved and improved. Pretending there is no problem in the face of an article like this helps no one. As for your comments about the US educational system, if it is so great why are so many school systems abandoning the teaching of science and trying to push "intelligent design"? Why do they refuse to teach the facts and instead choose to teach mythology (religion) based courses?
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