National Campaign to Bust Myths, Present Facts about Cancer Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February is Cancer Prevention Month. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is leading a national campaign to help Americans separate the myths from facts about cancer risk. Throughout the month, AICR will debunk cancer misperceptions and empower Americans with accurate, evidence-based advice on cancer prevention.
AICR estimates that around 40 percent of all cancer cases can be prevented. Eating a healthy diet, being more active each day and maintaining a healthy weight are, after not smoking, the most important ways to reduce cancer risk. The majority of Americans are unaware of these science-based strategies, leading to confusion about lifestyle and cancer risk.
AICR’s Cancer Risk Awareness survey found that 89 percent of people believe that “cancer is often genetic – it is inherited risk and they can do nothing about it.” Experts say, not true. Even if someone has a genetic mutation known to significantly increase cancer risk — such as the BRCA1 gene that is known to cause breast cancer — it is not certain that the person will eventually get cancer.
“The fact is strong evidence shows there are daily actions we can take to improve our odds of not getting cancer.”
The headlines around red wine make it tempting to believe that alcohol can be healthy. But the fact is that all alcohol, regardless of the source, is a carcinogen. AICR’s latest report showed that drinking alcohol of any type links to increased risk for breast and several other cancers.
Another idea that is not supported by science but commonly believed is that eating organic fruits and vegetables offers extra protection against cancer. “Eating a diet rich in plant foods can help reduce the risk of cancer – whether organically or conventionally produced.”