Fact Or Fiction: Cancer Causes

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Millions of Americans suffer from cancer and many have no family history or obvious risk factors. So what causes it?

Experts say smoking accounts for about a third of all cancers, but what about the rest? There are new studies released all the time linking things we use every day to cancer, but how much can we really believe?

We went to Bruce Chabner, Director of Clinical Research at Mass General Cancer Center, to help us separate fact from fiction.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports.

We often year studies suggesting aspartame and other artificial sweeteners may be linked to cancer, but are they a real risk? Not according to Chabner. “The government has said they feel it’s safe,” he said. Chabner did say that some studies have shown animals fed large quantities did show a slightly elevated risk. “I wouldn’t suggest drinking 25 diet drinks a day,” he said.

Read: New Cancer Therapy Offers New Hope For Patients

Other studies have suggested parabens, found in some deodorants and cosmetics, could be connected to cancer. That’s also a no. “I haven’t seen anything that indicates that deodorants are harmful,” Chabner said.

Ever hear that mouthwash can increase your risk of oral cancer? That, according to Chabner, is another no.

The answer is not quite as clear with other things like red wine. “There are things in red wine that may be protective,” Chabner explained. “But the alcohol in red wine is a carcinogen. If you drink enough of it for a long period of time… it may eventually lead to some cancer in the liver,” he said.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs have shown great benefits for heart health, but there has also been some concern about whether they can increase cancer risk. “They could have effects on cancer, but it’s certainly not clear at this point,” Chabner said.

See: Cancer Causes

Some studies have suggested cell phones may be to blame for the increase in brain cancer. That’s another unknown. According to Dr. Thomas Froehlich of the Simmons Cancer Center, scientists are trying to come up with a definitive answer. “Many, many millions of dollars are being spent to try to figure out if there is a causal link between the electromagnetic waves used in cell phones and the rise in brain tumors,” he explained.

Other than smoking, obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for cancer and many other problems. Most experts agree rather than worrying about all the random studies that are published, we would all be better off concentrating on what we put on our plate.

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  • Cynic

    Of course Smoking is the biggest , but from the Article it appears they are just not going to let it go….I suppose that I wouldn’t either if I have spent so much time and effort building the myth.

  • emom

    Ok the only way to PROVE the myth is wait about 2 decades and when there is a huge spike in cancer well research the possible culprit,, if the person smiked all that time I personally use none of them not because of cancer, because I get very sick using them . So cant even drink it.. We pump our bodies full of chemicals and we truely do not know what the out come will be. More study needs to be done on people that have cancer, Did they eat a chemical free diet, use no chemicals in their home, until such a study has been done we can beleive that chemicals can be a sourc for cancer. after all smoking is the biggest of LUNG cancer, throat cancer, esophigus cancer, even brain cancer.. And we also know it can cause heart attacks and stroke so I would not dismiss the possibilities, Just because you have no problems, others have, Lung issues is another problem. BUT HEY LIVE IT UP , since you onlyh have ONE SHOT at life.

  • Cynic

    Sweet and Low is banned in Canada.
    My nephew has a Phd in Biochemestry. He does research in Heart disease in Canada.
    He tells me that research has shown that if a Mouse were to eat 25 pounds of Sweet and Low every day for 100 years he might get sick.
    Whenever they visit they always get plenty of Sweet and Low to take back with them.

  • Cynic

    Fewer people die from Cancer because of improved treatment.
    The Number of people that develop Cancer has remained the same.
    70% of people no longer smoke.
    Shouldn’t the number of people getting Cancer have gone down also?
    Facts:1.People Smoke. 2.People Die. Conclusion: Smoking causes people to die.
    More facts 1. People eat Ice Cream 2. People Die. Conclusion: Eating Ice Cream causes people to die.
    In the past 10 million years the death rate has remained the same…1 per person. Deal with it.

  • emom

    WE shall see, we shall see,,,,, if these numbers are so , them they may lie, as for the sweetners, many are unable to use them because they get very sick,,, I should know aI am one of them. they are not as good as you are lead to believe, but as like anything that is fed to us by our government we beleive them , after all its the government that controls our lifes and its them that allow the chemicals to be in our food, there have been many additives over the years that have been banned and rightfully so , because the health benifits were were not there, they caused people to get very sick and even died, so you believe what the government says, the testing is not complete.. after all we dont find out the true test results for decades, by that time its will be to late, but hey carry on as useuall,, beleive the liars and hope its not to late,

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