Study: Saying ‘Cancer’ Out Loud Causes Cancer
Atlanta, Ga (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control announced a the results of new research into the causes of malignant tumors today, and revealed the striking news that a principal factor in occurrence of the disease is whether or not the patient has uttered the word “cancer” out loud.
In an article to be published in next month’s New England Journal of Medicine, CDC researchers present data documenting about 4,500 cancer patients of various varieties. Of those patients, approximately 4,494 had uttered the word audibly sometime during their lives, and subsequently developed malignancies.
The discovery has both alarmed and excited oncologists and researchers. Forrest Forthetreez, the study’s lead author, said that if the study’s data are accurate, under current circumstances tens of millions of Americans are at grave risk for the disease. “But that’s only half the story. It also turns out that folk wisdom has been way ahead of medical research, and that there’s already a widespread practice to whisper the name of the disease, or not say it at all. My mother still calls it ‘that sickness.'”
Already, the CDC plans several follow-up studies. One will look at different types of cancer to determine whether the effect varies from one variety of the disease to another. A second study will look at populations that speak languages other than English to detect any variations in susceptibility associated with using terms from those languages. A third proposed study, which has yet to receive approval for funding, aims to look for the same effect with other diseases.
If further research substantiates the findings of the most recent study, says Julia Sartan, a Sloan-Kettering oncologist in New York, the obvious course of action is a publicity campaign to educate people as to the risks of uttering the word “cancer” at full volume. “There have been successful campaigns of this kind before,” she noted, citing efforts to get parents to vaccinate children, and anti-smoking publicity. “It can take years, but the impact on public health could be tremendously positive.”
“Also,” she added, “I want to see what happens when the preventive techniques are used in conjunction with the proven ‘knock on wood’ immunization procedure.”
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