Media Release

Australia’s biggest health fears don’t reflect reality

  • 27.5% of Australians are obese yet only 7.13% of people confess that as a health fear
  • Only one in eight (13.47%) worried they will face mental health issues
  • survey reveals one in three Australians fear they will get cancer in the next ten years

8 November 2016 Sydney, Australia – Australians have their head in the sand when it comes to certain health issues, says, Australia’s most visited comparison website.1

finder surveyed 2,005 Australians and found that Australians are most fearful of cancer, but are less worried about prevalent and potentially serious health conditions such as mental health, obesity and diabetes.

According to the OECD, Australia is the second-highest consumer of antidepressants in the world, yet only one in eight (13.47%) Australians are worried they will face mental health issues. This is less than the one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 who do experience a mental illness in any given year.

The study revealed that one in three Australians fear they will get cancer in the next ten years, representing more than 5 million adults. This is significantly higher than the actual number who will be diagnosed - with about 140,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year or about 1.5 million new cases over the coming decade.

Bessie Hassan, Health Insurance Expert at, says that while it’s natural to be concerned about cancer, thankfully early prevention, detection and treatment methods, are all increasing the chances of survival.

Australia’s top 10 biggest health fears (by gender):

Mental health13.9%13.1%13.5%
Cardiovascular disease (coronary heart conditions)9.3%12.1%10.7%
Musculoskeletal (paralysis, spinal injury, arthritis)7.7%7.0%7.3%
Degenerative diseases (Huntington's, Parkinson's)5.5%5.9%5.7%
Infertility5.9%2.2% 4.0%
Respiratory diseases (Asthma)3.1%3.1%3.1%


Ms Hassan said it was important to speak up about health fears but there was no point worrying about the ‘what-ifs’.

“Don’t live your life waiting for a diagnosis,” she advised. “Take preventative measures early and look into your health insurance policy to make sure you and your family are covered if something unforeseen does come up.”

“While having health insurance won’t reduce your risk of developing a long-term health problem or disease - it will ensure you’re able to afford expensive medical services if you need them,” she said.

She said health insurance can give policyholders greater choice or access to healthcare when the unexpected happens.

Gender breakdown

Women (32.17%) were more likely than men (25.97%) to name cancer as their biggest health fear.

Men (10.27%) were almost twice as likely as women (5.86%) to worry about developing diabetes and three times as likely to worry about contracting a sexually transmitted infection (1.13% of women versus 3.59% of men).


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit

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