Two thirds of people would want to be cared for at home if they were terminally ill, according to the nursing charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.
However, official statistics show home cancer deaths in 2006 were 38,312 compared to 73,159 hospital cancer deaths.
The charity, which is promoting choice on the issue, surveyed 1,973 adults. It found that while 65% of people preferred the idea of dying at home to hospital, only 14% thought they would get all the care they needed and 18% did not realise that home care was free.
Dr Anthony Byrne, medical director at the Marie Curie Hospice in Cardiff, said: ‘The perception that patients may not receive the care they need means people are more accepting of dying in hospital.
‘Palliative care specialists across the country are constantly exploring ways to support GPs and district nurses, so people can be confident their pain will be controlled if they choose to remain at home to the very end.’
The charity is currently running a programme at seven sites exploring how redesigning and better co-ordinating palliative care services can allow more people to die at home.