Monday, September 12th, 2011 - Roy Morgan Research

According to the Roy Morgan Health Monitor, three quarters of cancer sufferers (75%) say “I really want to enjoy things now because I just don’t know what the future will bring” and 72% agree “I’m optimistic about the future”.

The research found in an average year some 4% or almost 10 million Americans aged 14 and over report suffering from some form of cancer – the most common form being skin cancer (reported by 2.4% or almost 6 million people), breast cancer (1.5% or almost 2 million women) and prostate cancer (1.2% or an estimated 1.4 million men). Less common cancers recorded in the survey include various malignant tumours, colon cancer, leukaemia, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, Sarcoidosis & Hodgkin’s disease.

More women than men suffer from cancer. However the most common form of cancer, skin cancer, is reported by more men than women. Among women surveyed 4.4%, representing an estimated 5.4 million women, report suffering from cancer – the most common being skin cancer and breast cancer. Among men surveyed some 3.8%, an estimated 4.5 million, report suffering from cancer - the most common forms being skin cancer and prostate cancer.

Analysis by age shows the incidence of cancer increases with age – with some 13.5% of Americans aged 65 and older reporting suffering from some form of cancer. The data covering almost 200 illnesses shows the incidence of most health problems increases with age – some exceptions being colds, sore throats and tonsillitis, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) mood swings, asthma and acne being problems faced by more younger Americans.

Chart: Incidence of Cancer analysed by gender and age

Purchase detailed Roy Morgan USA Health & Wellbeing Profiles
Source: Roy Morgan International, n=13,672.

If we were to draw a pen portrait of a person with cancer he or she could come from any socio-economic background but would likely be older, relatively risk averse and conservative – e.g. he or she would be more likely than the average American to agree with such sentiments as: “I go out less now that I used to”, “I don’t enjoy taking risks”, “I like things to stay the same” and “I feel less safe than I used to”. However as already noted, he or she would also most likely approach the world with optimism – 75% saying “I really want to enjoy things now because I just don’t know what the future will bring” and 72% agreeing “I’m optimistic about the future”. He or she would also be likely to experience more than his or her fair share of colds and flu, and to experience more other health problems than the average American – even the average older American.

Portia Morgan, Vice President Business Development at Roy Morgan International says:

“This new study provides rich detail about the daily lives, activities, financial situation and media usage of Americans suffering from cancer and various other diseases. It also provides information about other health problems suffered by Americans with cancer and real insights into their attitudes in all areas of life, just one example being the strong optimism and desire for enjoyment reported. Those wanting to communicate with people with cancer would do well to tap into their sense of optimism and engagement.”


The above findings are part of a much larger health profile study with 13,672 Americans conducted between by Roy Morgan International. Comparative studies have also been conducted in Australia, UK and New Zealand. Respondents self reported having the illness or condition in the last 12 months at the time of interview.

A comprehensive profile on American Cancer Sufferers includes their demographics, attitudes, activities and media consumption. Also available are profiles of Americans with specific types of cancer including skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and tumors.

An extensive range of Roy Morgan profiles is available of people with 157 other illnesses, including Allergies, Cold and Flu, Bones, Joints and Muscles, Heart and Circulation, Digestive System, Mental Illness, Skin, Hair and Nails, Reproductive System Issues and many more.

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Roy Morgan Research


Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332
W: www.roymorgan.com

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New research identifies optimism among Americans with Cancer

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