A study of 2,000 adults found 37 per cent don’t think bad things will ever happen to them, with a third feeling that Covid would simply pass them by.
A fifth also assume they’ll always be able to see and hear without any issues, while another 14 per cent don’t think cancer will ever happen to them.
Others don’t think they will have a car accident (15 per cent) or lose their job (15 per cent).
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Cancer Research which commissioned the study, said: “No one wants to spend their lives worrying, but thinking that bad things will never happen could leave you unprepared.
“Things like cancer – and recently, Covid-19 – can affect anyone, so people should be doing all they can to reduce the risk where possible, look out for signs and symptoms and take part in screening when invited.
“Symptoms of cancer can include coughing, chest pain and breathlessness, changes in bowel habits, bloating, a lump in your breast, unexplained weight loss or unexplained bleeding.”
The study also found 52 per cent of those polled believe people have to maintain a certain degree of an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude – otherwise they would never do anything.
Symptoms can be signs of more serious illnesses
However, Brits have been left exposed as a result of this, with some outcomes more serious than others.
More than one in 10 (13 per cent) have even ignored a symptom of an illness in the hope it would go away – but found it turned out to be more serious than they thought.
And 31 per cent have found a lump on their body or another potential early sign of cancer with almost a quarter failing to get it checked out, hoping it would go away on its own.
Worries about wasting the doctor’s time (37 per cent) and what they might find wrong them (28 per cent) are most likely to put people off getting something checked out.
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found three in 10 of those who did seek help were diagnosed with cancer following their appointment while 40 per cent didn’t need any further treatment.
And 23 per cent said they were diagnosed with another illness which was treated for separately.
Yorkshire Cancer Research’s spokesperson added: “Contacting the doctor to get any symptoms checked at the early stages can significantly increase treatment options and improve the likelihood of survival.
“It’s vitally important as we come out of the pandemic that people act quickly if they notice any unusual changes or have any worries at all about their body.
“We don’t want to think that cancer might happen to us – but if it does happen, then an early diagnosis could save your life.”
Take this quiz to find out your readiness level for anything life may throw at you.
TOP 10 RESULTS OF AN ‘IT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME’ ATTITUDE
1. Left washing on the line and it rained
2. Didn’t put sun-cream on and got sun burnt
3. Didn’t charge their phone before a long journey and it ran out of battery
4. Ignored a symptom of illness which turned out to be quite serious when they eventually got it looked at
5. Didn't buy a carrier bag at the supermarket and then dropped all their items
6. Didn’t wear safety goggles when doing DIY and got something in my eye
7. Been the victim of an online scam
8. Didn’t take out insurance and then something went wrong
9. Didn’t install security on their laptop and got a virus / malware
10. Ignored a warning light on their car and had a breakdown