Explore's Science Cafe Explodes Cancer Myth

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It's a fact, cancer will affect one in three of us, and at 7.30 on Tuesday 8 July, Explore-At-Bristol will play host to a Science Cafe that explodes the myths about this disease.

Dr Ruth Morse, Senior Lecturer in Medical Genetics at the University of the West of England will reveal how people's DNA, the environment and personal behaviour interact in the development of cancers. Distinguishing between cancer facts and fictions, she will challenge some of the most frequent misconceptions of this all too common disease.

Dr Morse says, 'There is a widely held belief that cancer is something sinister, which takes over the body, but in reality, it's less about malevolent forces, or certain death. We are born with the genes we have, some of us may have a predisposition, some of us may not, but there are certain factors such as lifestyle and diet that can increase or decrease people's risk and aren't fully understood. So an understanding of how to "look after" our genes is important.'

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Aside from her academic work, Ruth has personal experience of dealing with cancer as both her grandparents had the disease.

"I understand how incredibly helpless people feel when dealing with cancer first-hand," Ruth explains. "There is so much conflicting information out there that it's difficult to know what to believe. Events like this give people the confidence to ask any questions they have in a relaxed and friendly environment. I don't pretend to know everything about cancer, but I can help to dispel some of the most common myths and help people recognise the fact from the fiction," she adds.

Ruth says that the controversy over cancer treatments can often be misinterpreted in the media: " There are many misconceptions about having cancer treatments withheld, such as the recent court case over the availability of the drug Herceptin; however, this drug is beneficial to only about a third of breast cancer patients and can have harmful side-effects for the other patients," she explains.

Explore will host a Science Cafe each month until December in the Theory Cafe, with a different speaker from the scientific community tackling a new subject at each one. There is no need to book in advance and admission is free, just turn up at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. To find out more about the Bristol Science Cafes, visit the web site www.sciencecafe.co.uk

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