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Drinking coffee, using mobile phones or having breast implants is unlikely to cause cancer, according to a risk ranking system devised by an Australian cancer specialist to debunk popular myths.
The cancer risk assessment reaffirms smoking, alcohol and exposure to sunlight as leading risk factors, but allays concerns about coffee, mobile phones, deodorants, breast implants and water with added fluoride.
The five-point system created by University of New South Wales Professor Bernard Stewart lists the risk of cancer from proven and likely, to inferred, unknown or unlikely.
"Our tool will help establish if the level of risk is high, say on a par with smoking, or unlikely such as using deodorants, artificial sweeteners, drinking coffee," Stewart said.
He found active smokers and ex-smokers to be the most at risk, although the risk is reduced for people who quit smoking.
Drinking alcohol was also a high risk factor, particularly for people who also smoke, although Stewart said no specific type of alcoholic drink was most strongly to blame.
Drinking chlorinated water and using a mobile phone was far less likely to cause cancer, Stewart said, although the risks associated with the long-term use of mobile phones had not been fully established.
He said there little risk from drinking coffee, using deodorants, drinking fluoridated water and having breast implants or dental fillings.
Stewart's research was published in the latest edition of the Mutation Research Reviews journal to mark world cancer day.
Reuters, February 3, 2008