Do You Believe A Lie?

02-18-2014 9:34 AM


5 Cancer Myths

Many of us do when it comes to cancer.

We hear something that sounds true, and we believe it.  And usually, there’s some statistic that goes along with it that sounds convincing. However, my husband, who is also a physician, reminds me that you can use statistics to prove almost anything.  

Statistics can come from many unscientific sources and studies.  So it’s wise to check out the source behind the statistics.  Then, it always pays to use a little common sense.

This week, Dr. Jag (officially Dr. Simeon Jaggernauth) with Cancer Treatment Centers of America helps us determine fact from fiction on five cancer myths.

Myth 1:  Whether or not I get cancer is genetic, so I can’t do anything about it.

Fact: Lifestyle factors can prevent nearly half of cancer cases.  So have regular cancer screenings, maintain a healthy weight and don’t smoke.

Myth 2: Sugar makes cancer grow faster.

Fact: All cells depend on sugar for energy.  However, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn’t slow their growth.  (Whew! I can still have my chocolate fix!)

Myth 3: Drinking red wine is good for my health.

Fact:  For those of you using this as a good excuse to have a glass of wine each night – sorry to report that all alcohol is a carcinogen.  Yes, drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk of SEVEN cancers including breast, mouth and esophageal.  Resveratrol, a compound in red wine, does reduce the risk of cancers in lab studies, but you can get it from grapes, blueberries and cocoa.  Yet another reason for my chocolate!

Myth 4: Cell phones cause cancer.

Fact:  You more likely to die from texting while driving than from developing cancer.  In a study with more than 420,000 cell phone users over a 20-year-period, researchers found no link between cell phones and brain tumors.  Yes, there was a previous study that suggested a slight increase in the brain tumors since the 1970s, but cell phones weren’t even used in the 1970s.  So the increase is likely due to increased medical care and improvements.

Myth 5: Monthly breast self-exams are the best way to diagnose breast cancer.

Fact:  Clinical breast exams are critical to early detection – even for women in their 20s and 30s.  So don’t neglect your annual exam. And if you’re over 40, make sure your annual exam includes a mammogram.  If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancers, ask about genetic testing.  Hmmm … I think I’m behind on this one. 


I hope you learned something from this week’s post just like I did.  I’ve been having mammograms since my 20s because of some pre-cancerous lumps.  However, somehow I’ve let my schedule get busy – too busy for mammograms I thought.  But I’m making the appointment today!

If you’re making a change because of this blog post, I’d love to hear about it.  Leave us a comment!

Stacy Frye Graves is managing editor of The Mary Kay Foundation blog. She’s loved Mary Kay since she began work for the Company in 1994. When she’s not writing this blog, she loves her Zumba class and keeping up with her husband and two boys.  You can reach her at or follow her on Pinterest: