Busted: Top cures and causes of cancer exposed 9



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There are many old wives tales and myths surrounding cancer prevention and causes, some which are clearly ridiculous but some just credible enough to confuse people – and possibly put them at risk.

The Australian Cancer Council created a website Iheard.com.au to draw out the myths surrounding cancer prevention and treatment and have revealed the top 10 most commonly asked questions from the past year.

Evidence surrounding smoking, sun exposure, obesity and being overweight, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and alcohol consumption are all risk factors for cancers. The Cancer Council has urged people to seek reliable information on the disease that is supported by evidence or medically approved by their doctor.

Here are the Top 10 cancer myths, as determined by the Cancer Council:

MYTH: Laser hair removal causes cancer

The Cancer Council has said that there is no scientific or medical based evidence to show that laser hair removal can cause cancer.

MYTH: A laptop computer used on your lap can cause cancer

Although the current scientific evidence has shown that there is no correlation between using a laptop computer and cancer, one theory has shown that men are at greater risk of developing testicular cancer because of the heat near their crotch area.

MYTH: Drinking water from a plastic bottle causes cancer

This is one of the most well known and believed myths out of the ten revealed by the Cancer Council. They said: “Emails claim that heating, freezing or reusing plastic water bottles releases chemicals from the plastics that could cause cancer, including dioxins. However, the plastic in water bottles contains no dioxins at all.”

MYTH: Drinking coffee can cause cancer

There is no solid evidence to support coffee to cause cancer. Professionals have assured the public that modern methods of coffee production in Australia no longer contains solvents that are related to coffee production and there are no risks involved with drinking, aside from a caffeinated buzz.

MYTH: Halogen light-bulbs can cause skin cancer

Cancer causing halogen lights is a myth that was busted with solid evidence to back them.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted a study into a range of light bulbs and found that, although emitting some ultra-violet radiation, none of the halogen lights tested even at a distance of 10 cm were hazardous to our health. 

MYTH: Root canal treatment causes cancer

No credible evidence that a root canal causes cancer has been found.

This theory has been debunked several times with modern research and in fact not treating a decaying tooth can lead to gastrointestinal cancers from bacteria growing in the untouched tooth.

MYTH: UV light used in shellac nail manicures can cause cancer

Overexposure to UV radiation from sunbeds (solariums) have been known to increase the risk of cancer.

As for nail lamps that use UV radiation, concerns expressed about their potential to increase the risk of skin cancer cannot be disproved or claimed to be true.

The cancer council has said: ‘Unfortunately, not enough research exists to prove or disprove the claim.’

MYTH: The Gumbi Gumbi a rare native Australian Tree can effectively treat cancer

The plant has been popularly believed to help with curing cancer, but no evidence has been presented to support these views.

MYTH: Black Slave (Red Slave, Cansema, Blood–Root) is a good cure for skin cancer

Black salve is a fake cancer treatment. There is no evidence that it works and it can cause serious side effects such as burning and destroying large areas of skin, often leaving scarring.

MYTH: Eating Apricot kernels can cure cancer

Amygdalin or Laetrile are the compounds that have been said to create the miracle cure. 

Despite being untrue, eating large amounts of the seed is ineffective and can cause death by cyanide poisoning.

If you have any questions about your health or cancer you should see your family doctor or a qualified health professional.

Have you heard any of these false claims before? Have you heard any myths that aren’t on this list?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. What, no mention of the crap foods that are eaten and that are known to cause cancer

  2. And of course The Cancer Council would not want us mere mortals to find a cure for cancer – no money in that…….talking of money where has it all gone these s,millions that are collected from fund raising all over the world.?? The Cancer industry thrives on us NOT finding a cure.

    2 REPLY
    • What a shame Cheryl that you feel this way about the Cancer Council. I would like to know what evidence you have. My personal experience is that the latest melanoma treatments discovered through research are astoundingly successful. When I was diagnosed in 2011, the day after my 59th birthday, with multiple tumours in my abdominal region, I was told that I had 9 months to live unless I was one of the lucky 10% Who had a chance of survival on the only chemo available, that had been around for the previous 30 years. Six months later it had not worked and some tumours grew and required surgery. What followed was a clinical trial on immunotherapy treatments (which encourages your own immune system to fight the cancer) which have a 60-70% survival rate which have saved my life. I urge everyone to please keep giving to Cancer research…it has a very practical result…to which my husband and family can attest…rather than burying me before my 60th birthday.

    • I totally agree with you Cheryl. Trillions of dollars have been donated over the years supposedly gone into research for a cure. Absolute bulls@@@ more money to be made from the chemo for the pharmaceutical companies is all that happens.

  3. Doctor told me that talcum powder on my pubic area would give me cancer of uterus. Can this be true???!!!????? Cheryl, you are so right. And have you noticed how fucking patronising they are while they’re taking your money?

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