Yet Another Example of Something that Shows “Links” to Cancer…

The media often uses fear to keep viewers reading and to raise publicity for an article. These articles usually focus solely on manipulation of emotions to get people to believe what they are writing and resort to this tactic due to a lack of evidence or statistics. A great example is whenever the news reports on terrorist attacks. In actuality, it is highly unlikely for a person living in the US to be involved in a terrorist attack, but due to the constant coverage and articles that use fear as a strategy to get views, people gain a misconception that they are likely to be involved in one. One story that I recently read describes how the consumption of carbs could possibly lead to cancer. The article uses the same strategy as any other fear article, but it fails to be credible due to lack of evidence, the use of vague words and sketchy connections, and repetitive sources.

As stated before, this article uses tons of condition words. Even in the first paragraph, it can be seen when the author states, “Carb lovers among us could be at higher risk of developing lung cancer, even if they have never smoked, according to a new study.” This is their strategy to bring people in, so it IS understandable that the word “could” is used here, so they can get the benefit of the doubt, but caution is advised whenever reading something with this kind of language in it. Later in the article, it is stated that, among other things such as red meat and dairy products, carbs might cause cancer; however, this statement is followed by one that says, “Researchers aren’t sure why there is a connection”. If researchers are not sure “why” there is a connection, how can a connection be confirmed at all? There is no evidence to back this claim other than a few studies done, but those studies’ results and the way the studies were conducted seemed rather biased. The study done involved asking 2,000 recently diagnosed cancer patients what their diets are like, and then they went to 2000 other people and asked for their diets as well. They found that those who had been diagnosed often had diets consisting of much more carbs. Not only is the sample size of the study way too low, but there are other factors possibly at work here that were not considered. How many cancer patients does one see exercising and trying to diet? Cancer patients need carbs because cancer cells burn so many, so no wonder their diets are a bit heavier.

The sources that this article used were not sufficient enough to make this article credible. Besides the study, only two other sources were cited. One source was from Xifeng Wu, a professor of epidemiology who researches connections between cancer and other things. The other source was from Marian L. Neuhouser, a member of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Both of these sources may seem credible, but the quotes do not confirm any correlation at all. The quote from Newhouser in the text reads, “These data are suggestive that (high glycemic index foods) may be a risk factor, but we always need confirmation from multiple studies.” This quote is buried deep in the article. Additionally, it is outright saying that assuming there is a connection anywhere here is hasty and unwise. The source practically contradicts what the article is claiming. Another quote buried deep from Wu in the text reads, “However, from all of these studies the results have been inconclusive.” What? If these studies are inconclusive, how can the author make this big of an assumption? In fact, the only quote that comes relatively early and suggests any connection at all is by Wu and states, “The risk seems to be high among ‘never smokers,’ suggesting glycemic index is an important dietary risk factor.” Even this quote, the only one of the three in the whole article that suggests any correlation at all, uses condition words like “suggesting” and “seems”. These are the only three quotes in the whole story, and since every source used in the article seems to either contradict what the story is claiming, or provide little to no evidence, this article cannot be credible or believable.

Cancer is definitely no joke and is relevant in today’s society, but the subject is often used in articles because it is so easy to distract people from how credible the sources are. Fear is utilized, and then people end up doing something stupid like, in this case, not eating enough carbs. Carbs are very essential to our diet, and they are in most foods. A food that is “carb heavy” simply has more carbs. Your body even turns fat from meat and dairy into carbs! This article is basically using sketchy connections between cancer and these necessary substances to get people to eat healthier, but in this case people would probably just stop eating carbs, which is disastrous for one’s health. It is important to realize when an article is trying to utilize fear so that one can be cautious and skeptical when approaching these topics. People already have enough to worry about in today’s day and age anyway. Why put more stress on them with a silly article like this?

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