Medicine: Ignorance About Health

Americans know much less about their own health than they think they do. They ought to have a reasonable layman's knowledge about what symptoms may mean, but ignorance in this area is discouraging, according to a Louis Harris poll commissioned by the Blue Cross Association. People think that they know as much as necessary, the survey of 1,609 showed, but many of them cannot answer specific questions.

The most striking example of overconfidence concerned cancer. Sixty-five percent thought that they could recognize the signs; the American Cancer Society, after all, has papered the nation...

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