I work at Cancer Research UK, and today someone pointed me towards a very annoying tweet. Apparently ‘cancer was cured last week but no-one took any notice‘. This might seem pretty unlikely (unless you’re a conspiracy theorist). Whoever wrote the tweet did sound a little gullible, saying ‘everyone must retweet this!’ Unsurprisingly it turned out to be rubbish.
Not only was the basic story overhyped, but whoever started this rumour also got their dates mixed up. The story they were attempting to bring to the world’s attention was actually from May 2010 – not last week. Luckily the Cancer Research UK tweeters quickly figured this out and put the record straight. There’s more on the CR-UK blog.
I’m not sure why so many people are keen to believe that scientists and pharma companies are part of a huge conspiracy – it seems a little unfair to assume that they’re all twisted evil megalomaniacs who want people to die of cancer.
And if it’s so easy to attach sinister motives to scientists, why not make the same assumption about the writers of dodgy-sounding cancer ‘news’? Hmm, they could be out to make a quick buck too. Cancer is probably one of the topics with the worst lies-to-truth ratio on the internet, so it’s really worth taking any stories like this with a HUGE pinch of salt (and maybe not tweeting them to the world at large).