How good is your knowledge of what causes cancer and what can be done to prevent it?
A camera crew from University Health Network went to the streets of Toronto to ask a series of cancer-related questions to a random sample of the public. They then got the correct answers from experts at UHN’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
Test yourself with these questions and then watch the videos.
1) Does wearing an antiperspirant increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer?
2) How often should a woman get a PAP test to screen for cervical cancer?
3) Is using an indoor tanning bed safer than tanning outdoors in the sun?
4) Do treatments for prostate cancer always cause urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction?
5) Are “light” cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?
Cancer myths “are virtually ubiquitous,” said Dr. Benjamin Neel, director of research at Princess Margaret. “I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have misconceptions at some level about cancer.”
He says there is a general misunderstand of cancer risk. “A lot of people think it is caused by chemicals in the environment And there are cancer-causing chemical in the environment. But, in terms of the magnitude of the cancer risk they impart, it is very small compared with smoking,” he noted.
A majority of cancer deaths are still linked to smoking, being overweight and physical inactivity. “So there are things that we can do to help prevent cancer. Unfortunately, many people don’t do them,” said Neel.