4 Cancer Myths You Need to Know

CancerApproximately 40 percent of all Americans will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. This statistic is certainly scary, and hopefully, as we learn more about cancer, we will be able to reduce that number in the future. Until that happens however, you probably want to do everything that you can to reduce your cancer risk. Unfortunately, there are many myths out there about what causes cancer, and it can be hard to decipher which things pose a real cancer risk and which things are merely cancer myths.

Cancer Myth 1: Microwave Ovens Cause Cancer

Although heating food in non- ‘microwave-safe’ plastic containers can indeed result in carcinogenic (substances that encourage the growth of cancer cells) chemicals leaking into your food, there is no evidence to suggest that the microwave itself contributes to cancer. Many people are concerned that the radiation given off from microwaves will contribute to cancer, but extensive research has found that non-ionizing radiation – the type used in microwaves, does not carry enough energy to penetrate DNA and it therefore does not contribute to the formation of cancer cells. So as long as you’re cooking in microwave safe containers, you need not worry that the microwave will increase your cancer risk.

Cancer Myth 2: Wearing Tight Undergarments Causes Cancer


One of the popular cancer myths circulating today is that wearing a tight bra can contribute to breast cancer and wearing restrictive underwear or jeans can lead to testicular cancer. The explanation behind this cancer myth is that wearing tight undergarments obstructs the free movement of the lymph system, which causes toxins to collect in that area, and thereby encourages the growth of cancer cells. Also, for men, wearing tight underwear and jeans supposedly causes an increase in temperature and a consequent lowering of sperm count and thus an increased testicular cancer risk. However, there is absolutely no evidence or scientific studies to confirm these theories, and scientists say that in order to cause any harmful effect, the undergarments would have to be so tight that they would simply  be un-wearable.

Cancer Myth 3: Wearing Deodorant Causes Cancer

Your friends are wondering where that stench is coming from, but you’re ok with it, because a little odor is worth not getting cancer. Well spare your friends and wear that deodorant if you need it, because to date there is no conclusive evidence that deodorant contributes to cancer. This rumor began because elevated levels of aluminum and parabens have been found in certain cancer patients and deodorant often contains these two substances. However, the assumptions that deodorant was the cause of these elevated levels or that elevated levels of aluminum and parabems actually contribute to the growth of cancer cells, were both based on speculation and not fact. If you’re still not convinced of the safety of deodorant, you can always buy an aluminum and paraben-free deodorant from your local health food store.

Cancer Myth #4: Meat Causes Cancer Cells to Grow

Rumor has it that eating grilled meat that is cooked on a charcoal grill can increase your cancer risk. Now before you start eating blackened meat regularly listen up. Grilled, pan fried or charred meat, eaten in moderation, and cooked to no more than medium-well, is unlikely to increase your cancer risk. However, when you burn the meat, the blackened parts contain chemicals called heterocyclic amines (Has), which have actually been found to contribute to the growth of cancer cells. So to be safe, you should try eating your meat as raw as you can handle it and avoid well done cuts.

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Also, cut off the meat crusts (which usually end up being the most well done parts of the meat), and of course consume meat in moderation. Finally, consider adding garlic, rosemary and/or sage to your meat while cooking, because they all help to block the formation of harmful cancer causing substances.

Related Reading: Do Microwave Ovens Really Cause Cancer?