DAK study: cancer scares people

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Cancer scares people, according to a DAK study.

(2010-11-10) Although serious heart diseases such as heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Germany, most people are afraid of cancer when it comes to health. According to a study by the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), around two thirds of the respondents (73 percent) stated that they were particularly afraid of developing a cancer tumor. The health insurance fund had a total of 3,015 men and women surveyed across Germany. The study was carried out by the renowned research institute "Forsa" and is considered representative. All respondents were insured with the DAK.

More than every second German citizen surveyed (53 percent) is afraid of a serious accident with serious injuries. After that, stroke (52 percent), Alzheimer's and dementia (50 percent) and heart attack (45 percent) are mentioned. 30 percent of Germans are also afraid of a mental illness such as depression, followed by severe lung disease such as lung cancer (26 percent) and diabetes (20 percent).

Women are more afraid of illness than men It was conspicuous in the survey that women in particular are afraid of serious illnesses. "Women are more concerned about diseases than men," says DAK expert Dr. Christina Sewekow. The evaluation also showed that these fears of serious accidents are as pronounced as for possible strokes. According to the doctor, women have a different body feeling. They see themselves more in harmony with their bodies, men, on the other hand, often see their bodies as “everyday objects”. This different body feeling is also noticeable in preventive care. Women go to preventive health care much more often than men and on average also live healthier lives. According to the DAK study, 74 percent of women go to early cancer detection. In the case of men, it is only 46 percent who regularly go to medical check-ups. In order to prevent illnesses, 80 percent of those questioned regularly exercise. Low alcohol consumption and healthy eating are mentioned almost as often.

Young people are particularly afraid of cancer. According to the study, young people in particular are afraid of serious diseases such as cancer. For example, at 81 percent, 14 to 29 year olds are most afraid of cancer tumors. The fear of serious accidents or a mental illness such as depression is also greater among younger people than among older people. The fear of cancer (63 percent) and Alzheimer's or dementia (59 percent) is almost the same among those over 60 years of age.

Starting education in adolescents "If young people are already very afraid of cancer, then this feeling should be used more than before for health care," emphasizes DAK expert Dr. "We start prevention work with adolescents and young adults and point out, for example, the advantages of early detection and a healthy lifestyle." According to the DAK study, 45 percent of 14 to 29 year olds rate their current state of health as "very good" . For older participants over the age of 60, there are only 17 percent. This shows that there is a contradiction between the real state of health and the existing fears.

Health insurance asks for cancer screening
According to legal regulations, women can take part in a free cancer screening from the age of 20. The focus of the investigations is on the genitals. From the age of 30, all statutory health insured women can also have a breast cancer screening examination carried out by their gynecologist. According to the DAK, men over the age of 45 should have their rectum, prostate and genital organs examined as a precaution once a year. Cancer is best cured if it is diagnosed early. Because once complaints and symptoms are noticed, it may already be too late.

85 percent feel healthy
Despite all worries and fears, the majority of the respondents feel healthy. The majority of respondents also said that they regularly do something for their health. Many do sports and pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet. People in Bremen seem to be enjoying the best of health. Only 9 percent of those surveyed stated that their state of health was “bad” or even “very bad”. The people in Berlin, on the other hand, said they didn't feel quite as good about their health. Here, 21 percent stated during the survey that they felt bad or very bad. (sb, Dak, 10.11.2010)

Also read:
Detailed PM of the health insurance company

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