I asked this question:

Do US vaccines increase the risk of cancer?

It was put on hold by Oddthinking with a request that I focus on one claim at a time. That's a clear and reasonable request, so why am I requesting support?

If I follow this advice I will get six (or possibly twelve) questions of this format:

  • Do vaccines contain X?
  • Is X a known carcinogen?

Say I get twelve YESes. Then that would only back up the claims on that site. But it would not tell the full story.

Perhaps if I explain what I am looking for, someone can suggest an improved question? I would like one of these possible answers:

  • These items cause cancer and they are in vaccines and there is no good reason for it or
  • These items do (or may) cause cancer and they are (not) in vaccines but the reason is ... insert medically sound reason here.

How should I rephrase this question?

  • Sounds like you should ask this on biology.SE Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    @DavidMulder: why do you say that? Frankly I think this site (Truth About Cancer) is spouting bull but I don't have enough evidence to prove it. I thought Skeptics SE would be the ideal place to refute it. Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 20:18
  • Because skeptics.SE is mostly about confirming and refuting specifics claims and not about gaining knowledge. By trying to cover everything it sounds your goal is to gain knowledge, if your goal is to challenge specific claims then you wouldn't need so many questions. Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


Focus your question on a single well known claim. Usually our answers are thorough. For example: "is any known vaccine known to cause cancer?" seems to be more answerable than listing a series of ingredients for a few reasons: it deals with something that can actually be measured, it does not ask for the ambiguous "increasing risk" in favor of "causing", it avoids false problems (carcinogens might be dose-related)...

  • Thanks, I like the idea of saying "is any known vaccine..." because that is specific but still gets to the heart of the implied claim on that site. But if I write, "known to cause cancer" is that not too strong? "Increase the risk" is measurable, isn't it? Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 14:08
  • @Wikis I think we're splitting hairs, but "increase the risk of cancer" is probably not something we want to ask. Water "increases your risk of cancer" by not letting you die of dehydration, but it does not cause cancer. Cigarettes, on the other hand, increase your risk of cancer because they cause cancer. I think the claim is about proper causation here, so it's better to be clear.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 14:13

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