A quarter (23%) of women in the UK do not know how to check their breasts for cancer, while 80% are unclear on what could increase their risk of breast cancer.
The survey by Bupa Health Clinics found that among those who know how to check for signs of breast cancer, only 14% said they feel very confident in what they are doing.
A quarter (24%) think stress increases the possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer but there is no evidence to suggest this is true.
In addition, 9% believe wearing deodorant and 3% believe wearing fake tan can play a part in the probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer. These beliefs are also unfounded, Bupa said.
A third of women (32%) also falsely believe that turning 40 will increase the chances of developing breast cancer, but in reality it is those over the age of 50 who are more at risk.
Dr Petra Simic, medical director at Bupa Health Clinics, said although there is a lot of health information online some is contradictory advice which is fuelling women’s confusion.
“This means millions of women are avoiding important health check-ups or not taking the right precautions – and in turn potentially missing crucial diagnoses and treatment,” she warned.