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NHS staff 'link coffee to cancer'

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Health workers are less likely to know some of the causes of cancer than the general public, with more than a third believing the disease is linked to coffee, a survey has shown.

Only 12% of the general public thought there was a connection, opposed to 36% of health professionals, according to a poll of 143 nurses, GPs and health visitors by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Health workers redeemed themselves somewhat with 81% knowing poor diet and 79% knowing being overweight can increase the risk of developing cancer, against 63% and 60% of the public.

A further 78% of NHS workers were aware of the link between cancer and alcohol, but only 64% knew that not exercising was also dangerous, compared to a respective 51% and 47% of the public.

WCRF health professionals publications manager Silvia Pastorino said: “There is no strong evidence that coffee increases the risk of cancer. In fact, we often suggest drinking unsweetened tea or coffee as an alternative to sugary drinks.

“While I am not surprised that many of the general public are not aware of this, it is worrying to think this may also be the case for some health professionals.”

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