Talking to relatives, it sounds like it was once believed that opening the chest cavity generally caused the spread and growth of diseases such as cancer because of the introduced oxygen into the area.

I couldn't find much information suggesting this, and it sounds like it might be more of an Old Wives' Tale or a remnant myth from the earlier days of medicine. And perhaps it might more have been caused more by lack of sterility and cruder surgical techniques in days gone by.

But I'm interested to know if there's any scientific basis supporting or debunking such an idea.

  • We require a link to this claim. Mar 11, 2018 at 6:09
  • @GrahamChiu: That's how Skeptics SE works, but surprised/confused why this would be policy at a site like this one. Can you show me somewhere it indicates such a policy over the wider SE or specifically for Health SE? Mar 11, 2018 at 10:16
  • Especially with it being a matter of older beliefs (less likely to show up online?). It was an honest good faith question from a relative, didn't know the answer, so thought here would be the place to ask. Mar 11, 2018 at 10:21
  • I certainly searched in detail when asking the question, but I found the search terms unfortunately overlapped a lot of very broad areas. But thankfully more attempts tonight hit success with the "does air help cancer grow" query: here or here, among others. Mar 11, 2018 at 10:22
  • Well if you didn't provide a link, we would just ignore the question. But it seems you have answered it anyway by your own research which is how it should be. So feel free to answer your own question. Mar 11, 2018 at 16:16


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