Cancer claims and reality

Yahoo! Health has a short article up that I just love. It helps to demonstrate some of the points I’ve recently been making about how science works, and it makes a good example of how easily misinformation can spread among the lay population when there isn’t proper follow-up into the reality of the evidence.

Antiperspirant and Deodorant

The link: A decade ago, an E-mail warning women that using antiperspirant could cause breast cancer went viral. Since then, some research has suggested that aluminum in antiperspirants and preservatives called parabens in both antiperspirants and deodorants mimic the hormone estrogen, which in high amounts can increase a woman’s breast cancer risk.

The reality: There is no evidence that antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer. Although a 2004 study heightened concern when researchers found parabens in breast cancer tissue samples, suggesting the chemicals may have caused the tumors, the investigators did not check for the presence of parabens in healthy tissue. Evidence suggests that 99 percent of us are exposed to parabens from numerous sources, including various cosmetics and foods, according to the American Cancer Society. Little evidence indicates they may be harmful. The organization says more study is needed to be certain that there is no risk. A 2002 study of hundreds of women with and without breast cancer, found no sign the antiperspirants or deodorants upped cancer risk.

Advertisements