Does This Cause Cancer?

Six things mistakenly believed to cause cancer.

It’s easy to become paranoid and live in fear that everything causes cancer. While scientific studies have shown a clear connection between cancer and tobacco, obesity, UV exposure, and certain infections, there are also plenty of rumors, myths, and false theories that abound regarding how someone gets cancer. Could it be your deodorant, cell phone, or the sweetener you put in your coffee this morning? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Here are six things believed by some to cause cancer that have been proven to not cause cancer after all.

We may never understand illnesses such as cancer. In fact, we may never cure it. But an ounce of prevention is worth more than a million pounds of cure. – David Agus

Water Bottles

They’re a convenient way to drink water. Just grab a water bottle and go. But what about the chemicals used to make the plastic? Could they be carcinogenic if left in a hot car or exposed to some other type of heat? While bottles formerly made with BPA are another story, most water bottles today are now made with PET, a chemical that’s been tested and deemed safe by a majority of studies. Water is good for you, and if using a water bottle is the easiest way to drink it, then go ahead.


Most deodorants contain ingredients that help prevent perspiration in your underarms. One theory believes those chemicals are absorbed into the skin where they affect the lymph nodes and eventually lead to breast cancer. Studies have shown no plausible connection between antiperspirant use and an increase in breast cancer, so smell and feel fresh without worrying you’re putting yourself at risk.


Could your underwire bra be putting pressure on your lymph nodes and preventing lymph fluid from reaching other parts of your body? This myth has circulated due to the results of a study that showed women who didn’t wear bras had a lower risk of breast cancer. However, the reason for this reduced risk is that women who don’t wear bras are generally thinner. (Obesity is associated with breast cancer.) Other studies have found no connection between bras and breast cancer risk whatsoever.

Sweeteners and Sugar

The artificial sweeteners you use in your coffee and the sugars found in processed foods have also been regarded as cancer-causing suspects. Yes, saccharine has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats, but scientists say human bodies process the artificial sweetener differently, so it’s not a risk. The same goes for aspartame.

Cancer needs sugar to grow, so some have assumed eating a lot of sugar causes cancer in the first place. Not true. Whether or not you eat a lot of sugar, cancer cells will find the glucose they need to survive. Since eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain—which does increase your risk of cancer—it’s important to watch how much you consume.

Cell Phones

Forget your cell phone at home and you feel like you’re missing an appendage. Thankfully, you don’t need to worry that it’s going to give you brain cancer. Yes, cell phones emit energy, but the amount isn’t going to hurt you. Thus far, numerous studies have found no link between cell phone usage and brain or nervous system problems.

Dental Fillings

The dark-colored fillings in your teeth are likely made of amalgam, a combination of mercury, silver, copper, and tin. One theory proposes that the mercury may leak out and cause cancer. Yes, minuscule amounts do leak out, but in amounts that are way too small to cause any harm. Replacing old fillings isn’t necessary and can damage and weaken teeth in the process.