Sick joke: breast cancer email is nonsense

In the last couple of weeks thousands of Swedish women have received an email warning them that the aluminium-based chemicals in deodorant can cause breast cancer.

But the email was a hoax which has been doing the rounds since it first appeared in the US in 2000 and the newspapers were quick to put readers’ minds at rest. Professor Arne Wallgren of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenberg told Tuesday’s Göteborgs Posten, “This is clearly nonsense, from start to finish. Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue itself and spreads via the lymphatic system to the lymph nodes in the armpit.”

Coincidentally, the press all picked up on a (genuine) report from the American Association of Cancer Research on the same day.

DN’s front page reported that “exercise reduces the risk of death from breast cancer” and explained that “three to five hours a week of walking or a similar activity can lower women’s chances of dying from the disease by 54%.”

The research behind the report followed the cases of over 2,000 women who had been diagnosed between 1984 and 1996. According to a cautiously optimistic Hans Olov Adami, Professor of Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute, “If these results prove to be valid, then this is fantastic news. We would be talking about something as effective as medical treatment.”

Under the headline “Women who do housework won’t get cancer” Expressen’s interpretation was that four hours of cleaning a week would keep you healthy.