Let's just cut to the disquieting chase: pretty much everything in life has been claimed to be linked to cancer. Look at the long list below. You probably deal with a at least a few of these supposed carcinogens on a daily basis:
Catching a cold (in childhood)
Vitamin E Supplements
Red Food Dyes
Sun Tan Lotions
Bubble Tea Tapioca Pearls (Whatever those are...)
Microwave Popcorn Bags
Coca-Cola & Pepsi
Taking a Trip to Cancun
Male Hair-Loss Pills
Household Cleaning Products
Brushing your teeth poorly
Modern Life (Yes, life, itself.)
After reading this extensive, though probably not exhaustive, list you may very well feel a slight inclination to live out the remainder of your life in a plastic ball.* But I would encourage you to repress that urge, as many (but not all) of the supposed carcinogens listed above lack reliable supporting science. Of course, that doesn't stop headline-hungry media and Internet outlets from publishing attention-grabbing stories, no matter how unsubstantiated they may be.
These outlets may not take health reporting seriously, but that doesn't stop cancer from being a serious health problem. The American Cancer Society projects that 580,350 Americans will die of cancer in 2013 alone. The cancer death rate has decreased in the past decades, but it's still far too high. Cancer deserves serious reporting, yet some outlets seem only interested in fear-baiting. This vexing situation irks a great many oncologists.
"Anxiety concerning insidious cancer causation could divert attention from proven means of cancer prevention," noted cancer researcher Bernard Stewart wrote in The Lancet Oncology last year. These proven means can be as simple as eating a balanced diet, enjoying alcohol in moderation, exercising, and abstaining from the use of tobacco products.
When it comes to cancer, the media should be focused on providing meaningful and critical coverage, not using the grave disease as a tool to attract anxious readers.
*Note: Living in a plastic ball isn't a surefire way to avoid cancer, as it seems plastics may also contribute to the disease!
(Special thanks to the Daily Mail UK for providing the majority of the cancer scaremongering! If you know of any more carcinogens to add to the list, let me know in the comments below!)