The new cancer myth-busting report by an Australian specialist assesses the likely risk of 50 known carcinogens to try to put into perspective the risks of contracting the disease. The research, published in the journal Mutation Research Reviews, was released today to coincide with World Cancer Day. It ranks potential carcinogens into five categories: proven, likely, inferred, unknown or unlikely risk of cancer.
Report author Prof Bernard Stewart, from the University of NSW, virtually ruled out risk for a range of rumoured carcinogens including artificial sweeteners, coffee, deodorant, dental fillings, breast implants and fluoridated water.
''No one should seriously lose sleep or change their behaviour in respect of these very, very unlikely things,'' he said.
''We're working to allay many of the fears that everything can cause cancer because the risks are often insignificant.'' In the report, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, deliberate exposure to sunlight and some rare cancer drugs come in the highest-risk bracket for proved carcinogens, the Herald Sun reported.
Among the likely risks were smoking marijuana, tanning in a solarium, eating large amounts of processed meats and living near a waste dump.
Using hair dyes and living near power lines were considered less risky, while inadequate evidence existed for mobile phones, cosmetics and food additives.