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What causes cancer: myths and reality

Over the past few decades, the culprits of cancer have been prescribed a variety of things: bras, and mouthwash, and a number of different products. Not all of these things are simple horror stories. Moreover, new suspects are added to the list. Here are the myths surrounding our usual things, and their confirmation or debunking.

Artificial Sweeteners

Myth: Weight zealots celebrated victory in the 1950s when diet soda drinks went on sale. However, laboratory tests soon showed that the cyclamate sweetener causes bladder cancer in rats and was replaced with saccharin. It turned out to be no better – saccharin also provoked the development of cancerous tumors. Despite the fact that saccharin did not fall under the ban, the products in which it is contained must have a corresponding mark on the package.

See also: To prevent rubella from sneaking up

Reality: According to the American National Cancer Institute, there is no evidence that cyclamate and saccharin cause cancer. Cyclamate, however, is still forbidden, but saccharin has been deleted from the list of carcinogens back in 2000, although the manufacturer must warn about its content in the product with the appropriate mark on the label. Aspartame has been suspected for some time, but researchers have not found an increased tendency to develop cancer in people who use it.


Myth: A number of studies conducted since the late 1970s have found that ethanol in liquids makes oral tissues more vulnerable to carcinogens – such as cigarettes, for example.

Reality: The American Dental Association has not found any clear carcinogenic properties in mouthwashes. Studies have not proved that brands with a higher percentage of ethanol are more dangerous than others. When used as intended, the rinse is safe. This means that if you do not swallow it and rinse your mouth twice a day, nothing bad will happen. True, heredity, as well as the presence of bad habits, should be taken into account – for smokers who have already died of oral cancer in their family, it is better to choose a rinse without ethanol.


Myth: statins, lipimodulating agents for normalizing cholesterol levels, can cause cancer when taken in high doses. An overdose of lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin and atorvastatin is fraught with cancer of the breast, colon and prostate gland.

Reality: A review of 15 clinical trials of statins has cast doubt on the aforementioned suspicions. A low level of low density lipoproteins is in itself associated with the development of cancer, regardless of whether a person takes statins or not.

Cell Phones

Myth: In 1993, a guest came to the Larry King Live show, telling an unusual story. The man sued the manufacturer of mobile phones, accusing him that his wife got brain cancer due to using the gadget. The broadcast caused a wide resonance, piles of such suits for millions of dollars rained down on judges, and the uenis asked themselves whether radio waves emitted by cell phones could really be so harmful.

Reality: the largest study in this field to date, conducted in 2010, did not confirm, but did not refute, the connection between cell phones and cancer. For ten years, scientists watched 13 thousand adults, and among the most active users of the tube revealed a more accelerated pace of development of glioma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. On the other hand, cellular network subscribers were generally less likely to suffer from cancer than those who had never used a mobile phone in their lives.

Deodorants and antiperspirants

Myth: Ten years ago, “letters of happiness” began to spread via email warning that using deodorants could lead to breast cancer. A number of studies have shown that the aluminum and preservative parabens contained in deodorants mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen, an increased concentration of which increases the risk of tumor formation in the chest.

Reality: There is no evidence that antiperspirants and deodorants lead to breast cancer. However, in 2004, researchers discovered parabens in tumor tissues, after which they suggested that these chemicals could cause cancer. However, they did not check the concentration of parabens in healthy tissues. Meanwhile, 99 percent of people are exposed to parabens to one degree or another, since they are found in most cosmetics and a number of products.


Myth: In 1995, medical anthropologists, husband and wife, published a report stating that wearing bras increases the risk of cancer. Researchers have suggested that sconces contribute to the accumulation of carcinogenic toxins in breast tissue.

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