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Cancer Mythbusters

  • private detective with magnifying glass


    In this series, we dive into the many myths and misconceptions in the world of cancer. Every episode, we look at a myth and debunk it with the help of our world-leading clinicians and researchers.

    Episode 1: Breast Lumps and Cancer

    While most breast lumps are not cancer, there are many other myths that persist about the relationship between the two. Beth Overmoyer, MD, director of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program at Dana-Farber's Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers, helps set the story straight on some of the biggest questions about breast lumps.

    Episode 2: Cancer Genetics and Prevention

    In this episode, we explore the myth that cancer is always inevitable — and that there’s nothing we can do to prevent it from coming our way. With the help of Huma Q. Rana, MD, clinical director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber, we explore the relationship between genetics, cancer, and cancer risk, and address how our lifestyle choices affect our chances of developing cancer.

    Episode 3: Smoking and Lung Cancer

    Every time tobacco is inhaled, it creates conditions in the body almost ideally suited to the formation of cancer. So how do we explain lung cancer in non-smokers, and are there significant risk factors for lung cancer other than smoking? We get to the bottom of this with Geoffrey Oxnard, MD, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber’s Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology.

    Episode 4: Is Cancer Contagious?

    A cancer diagnosis can inspire many questions, one of the most common being, "How did I get this disease?" There are a host of different causes, and in many cases, researchers do not have a definitive answer. But is it possible for cancer to spread from person to person? We tackle these questions with the help of Ann S. LaCasce, MD, MMSc, director of the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care Hematology-Medical Oncology Fellowship Program.

    Episode 5: Cancer Clinical Trials

    Clinical trials are scientific studies in which new treatments are testing to determine if they are safe and effective for patients. But what does it mean for a patient to enroll in a clinical trial? We break down common myths and questions about how these trials work with the help of Geoffrey Shapiro, MD, PhD, director of the Early Drug Development Center at Dana-Farber.

    Episode 6: Is Palliative Care Only for End-of-Life Patients?

    Palliative care is an often misunderstood specialty, focused on providing support and pain management strategies to cancer patients throughout all stages of their illness. This approach, which can be blended into curative cancer therapy, focuses on care for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. But is it only for patients at end-of-life? And how does it differ from hospice care? In this episode, we explore common misconceptions and dive into how palliative care really works with James Tulsky, MD, chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber.

    Episode 7: Superfoods and Cancer

    What is a superfood? And can it really fight cancer? Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, sorts through the truth and the hype around superfoods and their purported healing powers, and looks at the more general topic of what we should and shouldn't eat to help lower cancer risk.

    Episode 8: Brain Tumor Myths

    Brain tumors are some of the most complex types of cancers that exist, requiring a multidisciplinary team of many specialists. With the help of Ugonma Chukwueke, MD, a medical oncologist in the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we break down some of the most common myths and misconceptions about brain tumors — whether you're looking for information on how they start, what their signs and symptoms are, or how they're treated.