These days, a list of things that do NOT cause cancer would be much shorter than the things that are said to cause it.
It SHOULD be common sense that talking on a cell phone is not going to cause brain cancer, but every once in a while you still see someone posting something to that effect on social sites. This is the sort of thing I want to shed some light on. Many thing, over the years, have been said to cause cancer. In truth though, most of the stats are, at best, skewed, and at worst, completely false.
This one was big back in the 80’s. Everyone said it caused cancer, but that was only part of the story.
As it turns out, this claim was based on studies done on rats in a laboratory. What you were not told openly, was the quantity of saccharin given to these test subjects. I don’t remember the exact numbers now, this was 30 years ago. And, I don’t feel like looking it up. If you want to, feel free. Come back and leave a comment if you do so that others can be lazy like me and not have to look it up for themselves.
The quantities were so high that a person would have had to drink multiple cases a day for some insane amount of time, like 50 years, to get an equivalent dose. Having a “Sweet-n-Low” in your tea from time to time had a completely negligible influence on one’s chances of getting cancer.
See, fear mongering has been a staple of the mainstream media for decades, and will likely continue to be for as long as I’m alive.
Second Hand Smoke
This one has a different motivation. Tobacco Nazi’s have been promoting this nonsense for a long time, and they always leave out one critical word when citing studies. It’s true, studies have shown that PROLONGED exposure to secondhand smoke can increase a person’s odds of developing cancer. The people shouting about this like to ignore the word “Prolonged”.
You see, if you ignore that word it seems far worse. Now, for those who don’t really pay attention (the vast majority of people) it sounds like spending an hour in a restaurant that allows smoking could cause cancer. Uh… no. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.
When they say prolonged, most models are based on a period of several hours, on a daily basis, for a certain number of years. And hour a week, assuming you went out to a restaurant that allowed smoking once per week, is not going to have any measurable effect on you.
Smoking bans are not about health issues, they are about comfort issues. Legislating comfort levels is absolutely ludicrous. Next thing you know cities will start banning or limiting the amount of perfume a woman can wear because it might be objectionable to some people. And this is coming from a former smoker.
Personal Care Items
Claims have been bounced around about all sorts of personal care items. Some deodorants have been said to cause breast cancer. Hair color (the brown version is often referred to as artificial intelligence) has been credited for causing certain types of cancer. Is anyone still falling for these?
Supposedly, back in the 70’s, some scientists fed ingredients for hair color to rats, particularly a type of coal tar use in darker colors. And guess what, when fed in large quantities, cancer risks increased. Who could have guessed that? Again, it’s back to quantity. Further studies have found absolutely no link between people who color their hair and any risks of cancer. Yeah, no kidding. It’s not like they are eating mass quantities of the stuff.
Common Sense Prevails
Is it too much to ask for people to use a little common friggin’ sense when hearing such claims? This goes along with last week’s post about blindly sharing “news” on social channels without verifying it first. Why is it that we tend to throw our skepticism out the window with one thing, yet hold onto it with a death grip with others. Is there pattern here? If so, I haven’t seen it.
This may seem cynical, but I don’t believe any of it until it’s been backed up. I’m not buying some random Facebook post that orange skittles cause rectal cancer. I’m not going to forward an email, in a panic ridden frenzy, to all my friends, that claims white shoelaces cause baldness.
Think for yourself. Do your own research. Be your own biggest advocate.