Dr. Peters

Survey results from 2008 showed that Canadians are more concerned about cancer than other chronic and life-threatening conditions. While Canadians were aware of the cancer risks associated with environmental pollutants, smoking, sun exposure, and a family history of cancer, they were less aware of other, well-established risk factors including poor dietary habits, alcohol, obesity, and lack of physical activity. More recent surveys have not been completed, despite new evidence on the causes of cancer and changes in the ways that Canadians access information.

Beliefs in myths about what causes cancer is one of the challenges the Canadian Cancer Society faces when raising awareness about proven causes to prevent cancer. In this study, we partner with the Canadian Cancer Society to conduct a survey to assess Canadian’s awareness of known risk factors and beliefs in cancer risk factor myths.

This survey will assess:

  • Canadians’ present-day awareness and understanding of known cancer causes;
  • Canadians’ beliefs in the various myths about what causes cancer;
  • How awareness, understanding, and beliefs vary according to personal characteristics (e.g. age, sex, race, education level, marital status, geographic location); and
  • Where Canadians obtain information about cancer (e.g. social media, trusted websites).

Results will support the Canadian Cancer Society in reaching those who believe the most prevalent myths about what causes cancer or those who are susceptible to believing these myths.


Investigator: Dr. Cheryl E Peters

Partner Organization: Canadian Cancer Society (Elizabeth Holmes)

Collaborators: Alison Palmer, Dr. Gordon Pennycook

Funder: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant