World Cancer Day – and some common cancer myths

So today is World Cancer Day, where people all around the world are uniting against cancer.

Wearing our CRUK unity bands at the ICR clinical trials unit today.
Wearing our CRUK unity bands at the ICR clinical trials unit today.

It seems everyday there is a new ‘thing that gives you cancer’ in the news, and this can make many peoples view of cancer and its risks really clouded, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some common myths about cancer. Lets sift out the breakthroughs from the BS.

The myths:

1. Under-wired bras give you cancerin fact there is no real scientific evidence for any connection between any underwear and breast cancer risk.

2. Sweeteners give you cancermany people think ‘proper coca cola makes you fat, but diet coke gives you cancer because of the sweeteners’. This is a lie. Research has been done on the link between sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose and no connection has been found with these sweeteners and cancer incidence.  

3. We already know a miracle cure for all cancers – although all of us would love this to be true, it sadly isn’t. Cancer is a huge umbrella term including many different diseases, all needing different treatments, so there is no one ‘miracle’ treatment that will work for all types of cancer. There is also a conspiracy theory that pharmaceutical companies already know a miracle cure for cancer,and are keeping it secret to make money. This is a big fat lie, and makes no sense at all.

4. Mobile phones cause cancerThere is no evidence that mobile phone use is linked to cancer. The radio-frequency that mobile phones release does not cause DNA damage or enhance the effect of carcinogens – so as far as we know, this link is a myth!

5. Smaller breasts have less risk of getting cancer There is no link between breast size and cancer risk. Larger breasts can be a bit more difficult to examine, but although they can be a handful (pun intended) they can still be examined with a slightly different technique.

6. Cancer was created by 20th/21st century lifestylesAlthough lifestyle factors (poor diet, smoking, sedentary lifestyle) in modern days have affected cancer incidences, cancer has been around for a very long time. Even ancient Greek and Egyptian skeletons that are over 3000 years old have shown evidence of cancer! 

7. Herbal products can cure cancer – Although some herbal remedies can help with the side effects of cancer treatments, there is no evidence for herbal remedies stopping cancer spread and growth.

8. Deodorant gives you breast cancer Studies have looked into this and no link has been found, (so there is no excuse to stink!).

9. Breast implants increase breast cancer risk – This link has not been found, although implants can make mammograms harder to read, so you might next some extra scans/x-rays to check your breasts, but the risk factor for getting breast cancer is the same!

10. Sharks don’t get cancer – This myth led to some people capturing and killing sharks to study them and see why they didn’t get cancer. This is not true, poor sharks 😦

It is true however that we have made huge progress in cancer treatments for so many types of cancer, and as many people that die from cancer now survive cancer. So today on #WorldCancerDay text UNITE to 70200 to give £3 to Cancer Research UK, who fund research that is defeating cancer.

Till next time,

Lucy

xxx

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