Misinformation masquerading as science

Well, I had planned to do a pretty easy and non-impact day at the gym today, sticking to the bike and elliptical, but somehow I hopped on the treadmill and stayed there for half an hour and 2.6 miles. I hope my legs don’t hate me tomorrow when I go to lift, but the running just felt so good. Maybe on my recovery week after I finish Stage 5 I can just run and swim.

(tw: food talk, cancer)

One of my fellow morning gym ladies has cancer, and she’s been talking with us about her experience as she goes through the treatment.

Yesterday she was telling another gym lady that someone had sent her a "Johns Hopkins cancer center study" and they had proved that cancer is caused by: nutritional deficiencies, cooking vegetables, eating red meat, plastic containers, and dairy. (By the way, this is a fantastic page. It’s like a Snopes just for cancer– direct from the actual Johns Hopkins cancer center.)

Now, I work at an org that does science. Not all of the employees do science, but as a whole we probably have higher-than-average science literacy. But I guess folks still get pulled in by this pop-science, clickbait, Facebook share crap.

And frankly, I didn’t have the heart to discuss it with her. I wonder, after her ‘friend’ sent her this pile of junk, how much time she spent saying ‘if only’– if only I didn’t use that Tupperware, if only I didn’t eat so much steak or milk, if only I’d taken more vitamins… As far as I’m concerned, this is perhaps the least helpful thing to do to someone suffering from cancer. Cancer is a monster, and it’s not your fault. Argh, it just makes me so mad.

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About G

I'm running while fat. And learning other fun ways to honor my body.
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6 Responses to Misinformation masquerading as science

  1. PurplesShade says:

    Were I in your shoes, I think I would be strongly tempted to send her to the correct page the next time I saw her.

    Doubt and depression are not someone needs to have on top of having cancer, and that’s is (as you indirectly pointed out) exactly what her friend has unknowingly served her.
    Mind you, judging from the portion of my family who shares woo about willynilly, I’d say it’s likely that she did so with the best of intentions, one of those “if you can stop hurting yourself now so much the better for you later” kinds of things. I mean that is true in other things, like no longer using anything with lead paint for instance. Since finding out you’ve been exposed to something dangerous is stressful, but the stress is necessary.
    The difference here is that the stress is unnecessary, and neither her friend nor she necessarily know that. <.<
    Misinformation makes me angry as well, I just feel so frustrated that we don't do a good job teaching science literacy. I think it should be part of the regular school system, along with critical thinking.

  2. lozette says:

    Regarding plastic containers: another blogger I follow has switched to all glass containers for their lunch in order to avoid plastic. If people want to do that, it’s cool… but it seems like the people promoting it seem to think everyone drives to work. The thought of carrying all my lunch & snacks to work in *glass*… The mind boggles. Although I guess it would provide another workout…

    • G says:

      I usually use glass containers myself and they are quite heavy in my bag :( I take the train and the size and weight of my bag is something I always have to be conscious of (especially when the train is late and I’m stuck standing waiting, and when it’s full and I’m standing on the train…)

  3. Pingback: 2014 Recap | Running While Fat

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