Education and Research
How bright are Swedish high school students? - Scores of Swedish high school student believe that cancer is contagious
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Well - its out there - nearly half of high school students in Västra
Götaland and Skåne in Sweden, believe that cancer is contagious.
This is blow to Sweden which position itself as one f the leaders in
developed world in providing basic knowledge especially in relation to
healthy living and improved quality of life.
School and the politicians, which are now very embarrassed by such
developments are taking responsibility to talk about the deadly disease
and to create the right type of awareness, according to the Swedish
Young Cancer Association.
The survey was conducted during the spring in collaboration with the
Swedish Cancer Society. Nearly a thousand young people from western
Sweden participated - and the numbers show a great lack of knowledge
about cancer. Nearly half, 46 percent, thought for example that blood
cancer can be transmitted to a healthy person through open wounds.
"You hear a lot about prevention but it is not done the right way.
Young people do not read the news in the same way as adults. They need
to be infirmed through means such as Facebook or blogs," says Julia
Mjörnstedt, General Secretary of Young Cancer.
Only 18 percent of the young people surveyed say that they do not know
anyone who has had cancer. Julia Mjörnstedt thinks that given that the
disease is so prevalent, schools have a responsibility to talk about
"Cancer is such a scary disease that many people have bad experiences,
so people do not talk happily about it. That's why we should look at
this and think about how to get more knowledge of it in the curriculum."
The lack of knowledge may also lead to increased risk. Lifestyle habits
are formed at a young age and with information that is properly
packaged, Julia Mjörnstedt feels that it can get more young people to
not start for example smoking.
Only 0.7 percent of respondents knew that alcohol increases the risk of
cancer. 24 percent thought that the sun was only dangerous if one got
burnt. Only 2.5 percent reported that exercise and diet can reduce the
effects of cancer.
"The reactions we get when we are out and talk about this is that many
young people think we should tell them what to do. But we simply want
to help them to make their own smart decisions," says Julia Mjörnstedt.
The study was developed after a young girl who came back to school
after fighting cancer and was welcomed by the entire school staying
away from her. She found out that rumour was spreading on Facebook that
people should not get closer to her for her cancer would infect others.
The political environment as well as the social structure in Sweden
show that discussions about cancer and its effects are not something
that is commonly had. There is the calls thus for more discussion and
sensitisation to be had about the origins and the effects of caner and
how one can get it.
By Scancomark.se Team
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