Young people are the least likely to know that processed meats such as bacon and ham increase the risk of bowel cancer, a survey out today shows.
Just one in three (32%) of those aged between 18 and 24 are aware of the link, according to the poll of more than 2,200 people for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
Awareness among those aged 45 to 54 stood at 41%.
Scientists estimate about 3,800 bowel cancer cases could be prevented if everyone ate less than 70g of processed meat a week — the equivalent of about three rashers of bacon.
The survey also found 56% of people knew having a poor diet increases cancer risk, while 54% knew being overweight puts them at risk.
Kate Mendoza, WRCF’s head of education, said: “We are concerned that awareness is so low and with processed meat, it seems the message is not getting through to young adults in particular.
“It is worrying that it is so low in this age group because it is never too early for people to start thinking about the kind of lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of developing cancer in this way.”