Cancer Myths and Urban Legends

May 29, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

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urban-legend.jpgHeard any cancer myths or legends lately? How about these?

Cancer Myths: Myths are unproven collective belief.

Did you know that the results of a 2005 an American Cancer Society survey of over 900 people who had not had cancer indicated that 75% of those surveyed believed the following MYTHS were either true or they weren’t sure if they were true or not?

  • “Pain medications are not effective in reducing the amount of pain people have from cancer.”
  • “All you need to beat cancer is a positive attitude, not treatment.”
  • “Treating cancer with surgery can cause it to spread throughout the body.”
  • “There is currently a cure for cancer but the medical industry won’t tell the public about it because they make too much money treating cancer patients.”
  • “Cancer is something that cannot be effectively treated.”

Then there is the myth that lung cancer tumors spreads when exposed to air. While it is a myth, this does indicate that people’s beliefs can and do influence their treatment choices.

Have you heard that fluoridated water leads to cancer? Per the National Cancer Institute: “a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention summarized extensive research findings and concluded that studies to date have produced “no credible evidence” of an association between fluoridated drinking water and an increased risk for cancer.”

Breast implants do not cause cancer. This myth has no scientific basis. In fact it is suggested that women with implants are more likely to be familiar with their anatomy and pick up on unusual lumps or lesions. There is also no evidence that breast implants lead to breast cancer recurrences.

Articles on Common Cancer Myths:

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Dispelling Cancer Myths

Mayo Clinic: Cancer Treatment Myths

The American Cancer Society: Many Buy into Common Cancer Myths

Cancer Urban Legends:

What exactly is an urban legend? From “a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms. ”

Are the following true or urban legend?

While these tall tails have zero basis in truth, they are typically perpetuated over the internet and reappear every few years.

You can easily find out if that warning e-mail you receive is true or not by doing your homework, before you forward it to fifty of your closet friends.

And don’t believe everything you read online. Find supporting evidence. Call your local library and ask a librarian to help you review topics with conflicting information.

Or check out the urban legend site, or the archives of Rumor Has It it’s a great place to start!

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2 Responses to “Cancer Myths and Urban Legends”
  1. This is news to me. But I am happy to see what I can find out!

    Thanks for stopping by CJ.

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Have you heard much about vitamin B17? Its not really a vitamin, it is actually a component found inside stone fruits such as apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and even inside appleseeds and pear seeds. This ingredient is a form of cyanide. Can you help to dispell this myth or if any of this is true?

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