Debunking cancer myths

Have you ever found yourself searching the internet for health and cancer-related information and come across multiple sites, all covering the same topic, completely contradicting one another? Well, you’re not alone. While the internet may have tons information about cancer, it can be equally common to come across cancer myths.  

It’s important to separate cancer facts from myths. Myths can lead to needless worry, confusion and hinder your ability to access credible information. So how do you navigate the web to ensure you’re getting information from sources you can trust? The answer is simple: by analyzing what you read online, you can become more informed about myths vs facts when it comes to cancer.  

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself the next time you come across a potential cancer myth. 

  1. Is it based on research? 

    Verifying if information is based on research and who conducted the research can help you determine whether the source is reliable and credible. Researchers are usually associated with universities, hospitals and research institutes.  

  2. Where was the research published? 

    New research gets published in scientific journals. The most respected journals use a process called peer review to make sure they only publish high-quality research. During peer review, subject matter experts analyze the study to make sure it’s reliable and adds new knowledge to the field of study.  

  3. What type of study is it? 

    Determine which of the 2 main types of clinical cancer research is the study: experimental studies or observational studies. In experimental studies, researchers use 2 groups, with one group participating in the experiment and the second used for comparison. In observational studies, the researchers watch different groups of people in an everyday setting to see what happens. Generally, experimental studies are more reliable because the groups are chosen at random.  

  4. If it’s a study in humans, how many people took part?  

    Check the sample size of the study. If the sample size is large, the results are more likely to reflect what would happen in the real world. 

We’d love to understand more about what cancer risk factors Canadians are aware of, and what myths about the causes of cancer are most commonly believed. Help us out by taking our cancer myths survey!