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Facts and Fiction




General Information

Fiction:
If you fall into quicksand, youíll be sucked under and die.

Fact:
Youíll only sink up to your waist.



Fiction:
Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyes.

Fact:
It causes fatigue but no permanent damage.



Fiction:
Earthís rotation causes bathtubs, sinks, and toilets to drain clockwise in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Fact:
They can go either way in either hemisphere.
The shape of the basin and the direction of the incoming flow overwhelm the minuscule effect of planetary spin.



Fiction:
Benjamin Franklinís kite was struck by lightning.

Fact:
The kite picked up electricity from the air, causing an arc between Franklinís hand and a key tied to his end of the string.



Fiction:
A penny dropped from the top of a skyscraper can kill someone.

Fact:
It could never pick up enough velocity to kill, just to bang you up a little.



Fiction:
Swimming after you eat will cause cramps and lead to drowning.

Fact:
There is a very slight risk of cramps but only for vigorous swimmers.



Fiction:
A drunken teenager can tip over a sleeping cow.

Fact:
It would take several semi-sober people and a paralyzed cow. Anyway, cows sleep lying down.



Fiction:
Thereís a dark side of the moon.

Fact:
The entire lunar surface receives sunlight during the moonís monthly orbit around Earth.



Fiction:
Swallowed chewing gum takes seven years to digest.

Fact:
Gum is not digested, it passes through the gastro-intestinal system usually within 24 hours.



Fiction:
Wearing a copper bracelet on your wrist (or ankle) helps arthritis.

Fact:
Copper deficiency is very rare and there is no evidence that it can be absorbed transdermally.



Fiction:
A woman can predict the sex of her unborn child from the shape of her belly.

Fact:
Many women believe that 'carrying low' means they will have a boy and that 'carrying high' indicates a girl.
But, the shape and size of your abdomen are determined by the tone of the abdominal muscles and uterus
and the babyís position, not his or her sex.



Fiction:
Treat an ulcer by drinking milk.

Fact:
Milk eventually stimulates more acid production in the stomach and worsens the symptoms.



Fiction:
Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.

Fact:
Hair and fingernails only look longer after death because the skin has shrunk due to dehydration.



Fiction:
You can catch poison ivy by touching the skin of someone who has it.

Fact:
Poison ivy is caused by contact with urushiol - the oil present in the plant itself.
By the time the rash has appeared, thereís usually no urushiol on the skin.



Breast Cancer Information

Fiction:
Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.

Facts:
  • 85% of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer.
  • The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older.
  • The majority of breast cancer cases occur in women older than age 50.


  • Fiction:
    Breast cancer is always genetically inherited.

    Fact:
    Only a small percentage of cases of breast cancer are thought to be caused by inherited abnormal genes.



    Fiction:
    If you haven't gotten breast cancer by age 50, you will not get it.

    Fact:
    As a woman ages, her risk for developing breast cancer increases:
  • From ages 30 to 39, the risk is one out of 229
  • From ages 40 to 49, the risk is one out of 68
  • From ages 50 to 59, the risk is one out of 37
  • From ages 60 to 69, the risk is one out of 26


  • Fiction:
    Small-breasted women cannot get breast cancer.

    Fact:
    Breast size is not considered a significant risk factor for the disease.
    The amount of breast tissue a woman has does not affect her risk of developing breast cancer.



    Fiction:
    A mammogram prevents breast cancer.

    Facts:
  • A mammogram does not prevent breast cancer; however, it is an important screening tool.
  • A mammogram can detect breast cancer at an early stage and is the only FDA-approved exam to screen women
    who do not appear to have symptoms of breast cancer such as small lumps that are not detectable through manual exams.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends that women start having yearly screening mammograms beginning at age 40.


  • Fiction:
    The radiation from a mammogram can cause breast cancer.

    Facts:
  • The low level of radiation used for mammograms does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • One mammogram gives off roughly the same amount of radiation a person would get flying from New York to California on a jet plane.


  • Fiction:
    A mammogram is the only screening tool available to detect breast cancer.

    Facts:
  • The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a clinical breast exam (CBE) every year,
    shortly before their yearly mammogram.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, breast self-exams (BSEs) are an option for women beginning in their 20's.
    BSEs are another way for women to notice how their breasts normally feel and notice any changes.
    In addition to BSEs, clinical breast exams and mammograms are important methods of early breast cancer detection.
    These methods together provide a more complete breast cancer screening.


  • Fiction:
    Deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer.

    Facts:
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm deodorants
    or antiperspirants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines and medical devices,
    also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.


  • Fiction:
    Wearing an underwire bra causes breast cancer.

    Fact:
    There are no scientifically valid studies that show a correlation between wearing bras of any type and the occurrence of breast cancer.



    Fiction:
    All breast lumps are cancerous.

    Fact:
    80% of all biopsied breast lumps are not cancerous.
    As a woman ages, her risk of developing breast cancer increases and, if she does develop a lump,
    the risk that the lump could be malignant increases.



    Fiction:
    Breast cancer is always deadly.

    Fact:
    According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is confined to the breast, the five-year survival rate is close to 100%.






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