The Irish Cancer Society's head of research has warned that cancer patients, their families and their friends are vulnerable to myths and alternative therapies for cancer that can do more harm than good.

Dr Robert O'Connor said the most common issue was a fear of modern life and that appliances, chemicals and additives were causing the disease.

None of these, he said, had any proven link to cancer risk.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr O'Connor said that the amount of information is overwhelming and while some of it can come from well-meaning sources, some of it is manipulative.

He advised people to check information with their GP and organisations such as the Irish Cancer Society.

He added that medicine does not always have a silver bullet for every disease.

When asked about the Irish Cancer Society's controversial 'I want to get cancer' advertising campaign, Dr O'Connor said it had had a big impact and helped people understand the various issues around cancer.

In addition, he said there had been an increase in calls to the helpline.

Dr O'Connor said that cancer services are "hanging on by their fingernails" and need to be funded properly.