What Causes Cancer? Misconceptions Abound

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MONDAY, May 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Many people are clueless about what can actually cause cancer, a new study finds.

Not stress, microwave ovens or food additives, British experts say.

But a survey of more than 1,300 people in England found many folks believe otherwise.

"It's worrying to see so many people endorse risk factors for which there is no convincing evidence," said study author Samuel Smith, of the University of Leeds.

More than a third wrongly believed that electromagnetic frequencies and eating genetically modified food were cancer risk factors.

Others believed microwave ovens (19 percent) or drinking from plastic bottles (15 percent) caused cancer, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

The researchers also found that more than 4 out of 10 thought stress or food additives caused cancer.

When it came to known causes of cancer, 88 percent of respondents correctly said smoking, 80 percent cited secondhand smoke, and 60 percent said sunburn.

People who had mistaken beliefs about the causes of cancer were not more likely to have risky lifestyle habits. But those who knew more about proven causes of cancer were less likely to smoke, according to the study.

"Compared to past research it appears the number of people believing in unproven causes of cancer has increased since the start of the century," Smith said in a Cancer Research UK news release.

It could be related to changes "to how we access news and information through the internet and social media," he speculated.

"It's vital to improve public education about the causes of cancer if we want to help people make informed decisions about their lives and ensure they aren't worrying unnecessarily," Smith added.

Cancer Research UK funded the study. The findings were published recently in the European Journal of Cancer.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on cancer causes and prevention.

SOURCE: Cancer Research UK, news release, April 25, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

 

4 Comments

Thu May 17, 2018 02:52 PM

Most opinions are probably valid, but the same chemical reactions will not necessarily have the same effect on everyone. To minimize the risk, just expose yourself to a good atmosphere and food supply as close as possible to how God made it, and do not become addicted by flavor and any other habit.

I consume only healthy products, mostly organic food. That does not gurantee anything, but lowers the risk. (The most dangerous addictive drug in the world is SUGAR.)

My prostate cancer may still exist, but from avoiding dairy products and sugar, using graviola and turmeric, mine is reduced to no longer noticable. I learn just from suggestions and experiments; it may not work for everyone. (But if I believed doctors I would have been dead already four times.)

Thu May 17, 2018 07:31 PM

Thanks for this article.  It's frustrating how misinformed many people are.  The comments already posted are dealing with anecdotal evidence at best when they talk about miracle diets and herbs to cure cancer.  Sometimes it's your own immune system that does it, and sometimes it needs help.  Other times nothing can do it.  Bless medical researchers and those patients willing to participate in clinical trials!

Fri May 18, 2018 09:33 AM

The article is not comprehensive enough. There are quite a few factors that cause cancer. And I miss the word 'genetics' in the report. My father and mother both died of cancer. I have tubular prostate cancer. 

As to treatment: I keep to my first line treatment of Lucrin injections, but I heavily rely on the research that was and is done at universities. I throw a lot of herbs down my throat, keep away from dairy products and egg yolk, and have a PSA of 0.21. Just from Lucrin? Certainly not. 

Fri May 18, 2018 09:33 AM

The article is not comprehensive enough. There are quite a few factors that cause cancer. And I miss the word 'genetics' in the report. My father and mother both died of cancer. I have tubular prostate cancer. 

As to treatment: I keep to my first line treatment of Lucrin injections, but I heavily rely on the research that was and is done at universities. I throw a lot of herbs down my throat, keep away from dairy products and egg yolk, and have a PSA of 0.21. Just from Lucrin? Certainly not. 

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