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A weekly show where we debunk common misconceptions. This week, Elliott discusses some misconceptions about cancer!

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Elliott: Hi, I'm Elliott, this is Mental_Floss on YouTube. Today I'm gonna talk about some misconceptions about cancer.

(Mental_Floss intro plays)

Misconception number one, all cancers are similar. So generally, cancer weans that there's an excessive growth of abnormal cells but other than that, there are tons of different types of cancers that act totally differently. They grow and spread at different rates and they respond differently to treatments, which is why some people receive chemotherapy and other receive radiotherapy. Also, the various types of cancer have different risk factors, like excessive sun exposure is a risk factor for skin cancer, and lifestyle choices like obesity and lack of exercise are risk factors for colon, kidney, and breast cancer.

Misconception number two, cancer has low survival rates. Actually, the five year cancer survival rate has increased significantly over the past few decades. In 1975, it was 50% in 2004 it had climber to 67% and for certain types of cancer it's even higher like for breast, prostate and thyroid cancer, the survival rates are over 90%.

Misconception number three, artificial sweeteners raise cancer risk. According to the American institute for cancer research, over half of Americans believe that artificial sweetener causes cancer. That's a smaller percentage than people who believe that lack of exercise does, which is an actual cancer risk. In fact, scientists have found no link between artificial sweeteners and cancer.

Misconception number four, deodorant causes breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute has stated "the best studies so far have found no evidence linking the chemicals typically found in antiperspirants and deodorants with changes in breast tissue."

Misconception number five, breast cancer only happens to women. Every year 2,350 men in the US are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer according to the American Cancer Society, and 440 men die of breast cancer in the US every year, but the for men, risk is 100 times less common than for women.

Misconception number six, all cancers are painful. Whether or not a cancer causes pain depends on the type, location, stage, and treatment, but the Mayo Clinic has announced that some cancers never cause any pain. For instance, sometimes thyroid cancer has no symptoms.

Misconception number seven, physical injuries can cause cancer later in life. In a survey conducted by the American Cancer Society, 37% of Americans believe that this was true. But usually, experts can blame cancer and genetic changes on a person. Things like falls, bruises and broken bones are not considered cancer risks, though in some rare instances, skin cancer might start in a burn scar.

Misconception number height, a lump is the number one indicator of breast cancer. They're actually many other ways to tell if breast cancer is present including skin irritation, pain, redness and discharged. Under arm swelling is sometimes an indicator of breast cancer too, even before a lump might be noticeable and there may be no symptoms but a mammogram will detect the cancer. 

Misconception number nine, non-smokers don't get lung cancer. Amazingly, 10 to 15% of people who have lung cancer in the US have never smoked and 16,000 to 24,000 of non-smoking Americans die of lung cancer every year. Interestingly, these people tend to be diagnosed at a younger age than smokers who get lung cancer and non-smokers with lung cancer are more often women than men. Some lung cancer risks that aren't smoking include secondhand smoke, air pollution and gene mutations.
Misconception number ten, surgery causes cancer to spread. According to the National Cancer Society, in nearly all cases, surgery doesn't cause cancer to spread. Some tumor surgery are more risky, like with eye and testicular tumors but it's a total misconception that air will cause cancer to spread during surgery.

Thank you for watching misconception on Mental Floss on YouTube. If you have a topic for an upcoming misconceptions episode that you could like to see, please let us know what it is in the comments down below and I'll see you next week.