It's rare that you find a family that hasn't been touched by cancer. It's the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease according to the National Cancer Institute. As a result, doctors say cancer is having a major impact on society. 

Dr. Bruce Johnson of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is the Head of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which recently collaborated with Harris Poll on National Perceptions on Cancer. Johnson says people have gotten the message that tobacco use and sun exposure are associated with the development and risks of cancer. But Johnson says there's concern because "few people recognize obesity as a leading risk factor of developing cancer, and will soon overtake smoking as a preventable cause of cancer."

The ASCO/Harris poll was conducted this past July. More than 1,000 people were surveyed. Johnson says approximately 4 percent of the people polled had cancer, and 32 percent had an immediate family member who had cancer.

 The poll also shows that few people realize that lifestyle factors increase the risk of cancer, including consumption of fatty foods, alcohol and lack of exercise. Further data from the poll shows 91 percent of people think the government should play a role in identifying risks and developing better treatments for cancer.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio player above.