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Facts About Cancer - Breast Cancer In Men, Oral Contraceptives, Health Myths & More!

Updated on August 8, 2011

There are so many scaremongers around. They would like you to believe that exposing yourself to certain products or environments you could get cancer. These are, quite often, health myths produced by the media. It might be that people develop cancer and they are seeking blame in their lifestyle choices. Ideas, for example, that breast cancer and men simply does’nt mix or that oral contraceptives increase the likelihood of cancer – these are the sorts of assumptions that may be made.

Once people get together, some of these ideas may be discussed or a chance remark made and… voila! You have an unfounded assumption based on an idea. The media gets hold of these ideas and, before you know it, television programmes are made and reports are sensationalised in newspapers.

In this article, I want to highlight some facts about cancer, thereby dispelling some health myths. Here are some topics that I will cover:

  • Cancer & Stress
  • Contraceptive Pill and Cancer
  • Can Men Get Breast Cancer Too?
  • Can We Inherit Breast Cancer?
  • Can Sweeteners Cause Cancer?
  • Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer!
  • Can Pylons Cause Cancer?
  • Can Using Microwave Ovens and Plastic Cookware Give Us Cancer?
  • Can Vitamin D Protect You From Cancer?

All ideas have to be tested in a research setting and analysed.  It is then that a hypothesis is sought, tried and tested.  Great statistical analyses have to be performed and this is where you find probability on risk assessment.

Facts About Cancer: Combat Health Myths

It's a mystery! Courtesy of
It's a mystery! Courtesy of
Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Cancer & Stress

Fortunately there is absolutely NO evidence that stress causes cancer (Source: Cancer Research UK). However, levels of hormones in the body can change with the influence of stressful situations. There is little proof that cancer can follow as a result of this.

Research at Yale University studying a mutation of fruit flies suggested links to hormonal changes and cancer with these insects. However, human beings are not fruit flies so the link is not relevant.

This story was sensationalised by newspaper reports. I wonder how many people found their stress levels increase by reading this!

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Contraceptive Pill and Cancer

It is unknown whether the pill causes breast cancers and/or cervical cancers. It is believed that there is a slight risk but after 10 years after stopping the contraceptive pill, risks decrease to normal levels. However, if you have a family history of breast cancer, it is advised to take a pill that is lower in the hormone oestrogen. The pill prevents the risks of ovarian and cancer of the womb by half, whilst it is administered, over a number of years (Source: Cancer Research UK).

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Breast Cancer Men Included

Courtesy of Head Covers Ltd
Courtesy of Head Covers Ltd

Can Men Get Breast Cancer Too?

Yes believe it! I have taken two patients with male breast cancer over the last 4 years - I volunteer, drive patients to their appointments and cancer treatment. This is with the Ambulance service and Red Cross.

It is a rare cancer but can affect 300 men in the UK each year alone (Source: Cancer Research UK). Typically it affects men over 60 but that doesn’t mean to say that men as young as 20 don’t get it. There have been a few instances of these men who have contracted breast cancer.

It is thought that exposure to radiation; genetics and links to obesity may be the cause.

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Breast Cancer and Genetic Inheritance

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Can We Inherit Breast Cancer?

Only 5-10 percent of cases are due to genetic inheritance (Cancer Research UK). Yes, that was a surprise to me too! It is, therefore, a health myth that most women, who have had breast cancer in the family, have a high chance of developing it.

One in nine women will develop breast cancer and lifestyle choices can affect the development of this. In fact 15 – 35% of patients with breast cancer could have prevented it by a healthy diet and exercise.

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Is Sweetener a Cancer Health Myth?

Courtesy of Virgin Media
Courtesy of Virgin Media

Can Sweeteners Cause Cancer?

There is strong evidence that sweeteners do not cause cancer.

It was in the 60’s when this health myth was spawned with the sweetener cyclamate. It was thought to have caused cancer of the bladder in rats. However, since then, it has been found that this is not linked (Source Cancer UK). Can sweeteners cause cancer? No, this is a health myth.

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Facts about Cancer and Sweaty Arm Pits

Courtesy of Health Care Exposed
Courtesy of Health Care Exposed

Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer

A 2007 study published in the journal of Inorganic Biochemistry looked at 17 women who had the mastectomy operation for breast cancer. When this was anylysed, it was found that high levels of aluminium were in their breast tissues. The aluminium in antiperspirants was linked to this in the research study. However, these findings have not been compared to women without breast cancer. As confessed by the researchers themselves, the findings of this, therefore, were inconclusive.

  • There is no evidence that using antiperspirants can cause breast cancer (Cancer Research UK).

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Facts About Cancer: Pylons

Courtesy of the
Courtesy of the

Can Pylons Cause Cancer?

In 1979 a connection between electromagnetic fields and leukaemia was suggested. Researchers looked at these effects of household wiring in the USA where magnetic fields are stronger than in the UK. Since then a further four studies were completed in the UK on power lines, pylons and high voltage lines.

So is there a risk? There maybe a risk but it is only a very slight one (Dr Richard Sullivan, Head of Clinical Programmes – Cancer Research UK), so let me pause the scare mongering from here!

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Dispelling the Health Myths of Microwave Ovens

Courtesy of Digest This.
Courtesy of Digest This.

Can Using Microwave Ovens and Plastic Cookware Give Us Cancer?

It happened with e-mail. ‘Heating food in microwave ovens gives you cancer!’ it said. This was a hoax – a false claim that has got out of control!

Plastics that are microwaveable are safe when used for microwave cooking. You should avoid the type of plastic that melts – if in doubt use glass or china! I have now dispelled another health myth and created a sense of relief.

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Facts About Cancer And Vitamin D

Vitamin D - Let the Sunshine In

Courtesy of Georgina 25
Courtesy of Georgina 25

Can Vitamin D Protect You From Cancer?

There have been lots of studies that found a link between Vitamin D levels and cancer (Dr Virginia Warren, Bupa). Vitamin D comes from oily fish and sunlight. However, you would have to eat as much as four tins of oily fish a day to make a significant effect on reduced risk of developing cancer. You have to be aware, as well, that salmon, for example, can have high levels of mercury. Eating fish like this twice a week is not enough to give you mercury poison – so don’t start worrying about that!

What has been suggested, however, is that you take three high-strength Vitamin D capsules everyday (Dr. Warren, Bupa). If you want to read more on this subject, I have another article on this. Please click here for more.

Facts About Cancer Dispelled Through The Evidence

As can be seen throughout the internet and through word of mouth, facts about cancer may have been skued.  This article is written on evidence based research and not by assumptions.  Now is the time to make your own mind up with an informed choice.  Do you trust the evidence or are you more likely to mistrust it?  Can sweeteners cause cancer?  Is cancer genetic?  Can vitamin D prevent cancer and will you stop microwave cooking because you fear that cancer may invade?  It is all a mystery but we all have personal choice.  My thoughts, as regards to dispelling the myths of cancer, is that we all would rather play safe than sorry.  The facts about cancer will always be scrutinised and why not? 

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Special thanks to Bupa Health News, 2010, for being my inspiration to this hub and to:

  • Source: Bupa Healthcare


The author assumes no responsibility as a result of this article.  Should you be in doubt, or you need clarification, please seek the advice of an appropriate Medical Practitioner.  This article has been written with the intention of providing an informed choice and is evidence based.


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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Urba - this is very interesting. Have you got a reference point for this? Thank you for your contribution.

    • urba profile image


      11 years ago from Vilnius, Lithuania

      APIGENIN is natural flavonoid found in some vegetables and herbs: paprika, guama, parsial, green tea... It was revealed recently, that ir could reexpress very important gene DLC1 in breast cancer cell in many cases like in some other cancers. DLC1 regulates natural cell death Appoptosis whch is usually switched out in cancer cell. So, special food support rich of APIGENINE (FRA) could help chemyotherapy. WARNING - it was found that APIGENIN blocks some medicine metabolism enzyme in human body, so the best way is to use such (FRA) between chemiotherapies. The other problem - such FRA could contain high level of Folate too, so if folate inhibitor methotrexate (MTX) is used for treatment some calcilations and doctor's decision must be done, but it seems, that unlock DCL1 is more important than stop Folate flow action.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Hypnodude.. yes, am really into reciprocol linking! Let me know :)

    • hypnodude profile image


      11 years ago from Italy

      Very good hub, which I missed when it was published. Let me know if you'd like a link from mine on cancer. Well done Shaz, spread the knowledge. ;) Rated and stumbled.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you pretty... I like your style! :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      11 years ago from US

      rated it up like what you said and I said hehe, youre intelligent my friend! Maita

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Oh Mike... I am sooo sorry to hear this. Cancer effects 1 in 3 of us, so you are right that everyone knows someone who has suffered the effects of cancer. However, the good news is that most people can erradicate the disease with great advancement of treatment these days. I believe it is something 2 in 3, but cant remember the source for this figure. Watch out for my hub on nanos!:)

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      11 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      My brother died of cancer a few years ago, and I am always hopeful that cancer research will eventually offer a cure. Since nearly everyone knows somebody who has suffered from cancer, it is important to separate fact from myth, which is exactly what you have done here. Fear injures us all, and to separate truths from fiction is so important. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, it really is important.


    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi Green! I like your wording 'venture to guess' and I would agree with you wholeheartedly. Controlling variables always seems to lead to a lack of control of other variables in any research study.

      Yes, the mind is a powerful tool and we need to maintain a balance of mind and body.

      Thank you again for your balanced and careful consideration.

      Wishing you well:)

    • Green Lotus profile image


      11 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      It's nice to see something that negates the hype and scare tactics. This was well researched and easy to follow Shaz. Nice job! I will say that although evidence at this time does not point to stress being a factor that causes cancer, I've venture to guess that the future will provide us with many more serious health problems that are stress related. The mind is powerful and highly under-rated.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      Valerie. This is research based on evidence not assumption. If you had read the article it states:

      'When this was anylysed, it was found that high levels of aluminium were in their breast tissues. The aluminium in antiperspirants was linked to this in the research study.'...however 'As confessed by the researchers themselves, the findings of this, therefore, were inconclusive.'

      There is no EVIDENCE because the study was null and void.

      However, from a personal point of view, research is an evolving and changing thing. Researchers are always challenging each other on their studies. Take the pylon fact - this scaremongering was based on a RESEARCH study, but has since been disputed (only a small risk). Even today, there are debates over Darwinism (The Origin of Species) and religion, disputing as far as people going to war!

      Now evidence is based on statistical anaylsis and probability. If a study is considered inconclusive, this makes the study void. There is no evidence, only assumption. This is exactly what scaremongering is about.

      We, as ordinary people, can only make an informed choice by being informed. We can only do our best within the confirms of information available. If you feel the risks are too high - despite there not being any evidence - that is your choice.

      I value your comment as it adds to the debate - this empowers others to make an informed choice.

      Skim reading can create false ideas - it can lead to confusion, scaremongering and fear. This is exactly what I wanted to dispell in this article. Armed with facts, people can choose whether they wish to use antiperspirants formulated on EVIDENCE and not assumption.

      I thank you for your comment! :)

    • valeriebelew profile image


      11 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      This was mostly good research; however, I don't think you can accurately say that there is NO evidence that aluminum in deodorants causes breast cancer. It takes years, and much research to confirm such suspicians; however, if we wait for such things to be proven without a doubt, we may already have the disease. I don't want or need aluminum in my body, so I purchase deodorants without it. I would recommend that all women do the same, just as the author of Anti Cancer has done. He did quite a bit of research, and feels that aluminum is dangerous for women. You might make note of that in this article, so as not to encourage women to use products that may be dangerous for them. Thanks for sharing.


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