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'Cancer is contagious': Swedish teenagers

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'Cancer is contagious': Swedish teenagers
10:03 CEST+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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