Just the Facts M’am - The Top 10 Cancer Myths

by Dana Demas

Part 1 of a two-part series to give you the facts about cancer prevention and wellness.
(See Part 2)

Myth #10 - Your love of BBQ has nothing to do with your cancer risk.
Cooking meat over an open flame on the backyard grill produces two chemicals that are considered carcinogens (namely, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Consider other cooking methods when you can, then try these tips when the grill beckons, which most experts agree is safe in moderation.  

Myth #9 - Your family history is the most important risk factor for cancer.
The majority of people who develop cancer have no family members with a history of the disease. In fact, a recent study found that lifestyle choices – like eating healthy and getting more exercise – could prevent one-third of all cancers.

Myth #8 - You can’t get lung cancer unless you use tobacco.
While tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer, up to 20% of people who develop this disease never smoked or used chewing tobacco.

Myth #7 A woman’s cancer risk comes from her mother and a man’s from his father.
Your cancer risk comes from both sides of the family. Always ask about both parents and all of your aunts, uncles and grandparents when assessing your family health history.

Myth #6 You don’t need to worry about cervical cancer if you get the new vaccine.
Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine, protects against two types of HPV, which cause 70% of cervical cancers. Regular pap smears are still important to detect cancers not covered by the vaccine.