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Myths and Facts About Cancer

Home Myths and Facts About Cancer

There is a lot of information about cancer available, but some of it is misleading or inaccurate. Below you will find the truth behind some of the most common cancer myths and misconceptions.

MYTH: CANCER IS CONTAGIOUS.

No cancer is contagious.
However, some cancers are caused by viruses that can be spread from person to person. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that increases the risk of developing cervical, anal, and some types of head and neck cancers. Other viruses, such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C, which are transmitted by infected intravenous needles and sexual activity, increase the risk of developing liver cancer.

MYTH: IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF CANCER, YOU WILL GET IT TOO; THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Although having a family history of cancer increases your risk of developing the disease, it is not a definite prediction of your future health.
In fact, an estimated 4 out of 10 cancers can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes, such as eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, limiting alcoholic beverages, and avoiding tobacco products. Additionally, doctors may recommend that some people who have inherited a genetic mutation (change) that puts them at high risk for cancer have surgery or take medication to reduce the chance that cancer will develop.

MYTH: CANCER THRIVES ON SUGAR.

Many people with cancer wonder if they should stop eating sugar because they have heard sugar feeds cancer growth. However, there is no conclusive evidence that proves eating sugar will make cancer grow and spread more quickly. All cells in the body, both healthy cells and cancer cells, depend on sugar (glucose) to grow and function. However, eating sugar won’t speed up the growth of cancer, just as cutting out sugar completely won’t slow down its growth.

MYTH: CANCER TREATMENT IS USUALLY WORSE THAN THE DISEASE.

Although cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects, recent advances have resulted in many drugs and radiation treatments that are much better tolerated than in the past. As a result, symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and tissue damage are much less common these days. Managing side effects still remains an important part of cancer care, though.

MYTH: IT IS EASIER TO REMAIN UNAWARE YOU HAVE CANCER.

You should not ignore the symptoms or signs of cancer, such as a breast lump or an abnormal-looking mole. Although the thought of having cancer is frightening, talking with your doctor and getting a diagnosis will give you the power to make informed choices and seek the best possible care. Because treatment is usually more effective during the early stages of cancer, an early diagnosis often improves a person’s chances of survival.

MYTH: POSITIVE THINKING WILL CURE CANCER.

Although a positive attitude may improve a person’s quality of life during cancer treatment, there is no scientific evidence that it can cure cancer. Placing such importance on attitude may lead to unnecessary guilt and disappointment if, for reasons beyond your control, your health does not improve.

MYTH: DRUG COMPANIES, THE GOVERNMENT, AND THE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT ARE HIDING A CURE FOR CANCER.

No one is withholding a miracle treatment. The fact is, there will not be a single cure for cancer. Hundreds of types of cancer exist, and they respond differently to various types of treatment. There is still much to learn, which is why clinical trials continue to be essential for making progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.

MYTH: IF I’M NOT OFFERED ALL OF THE TESTS, PROCEDURES, AND TREATMENTS AVAILABLE, I AM NOT GETTING THE BEST CANCER CARE.

Not every test, treatment, or procedure is right for every person. You and your doctor should discuss which ones will increase your chance of recovery and help you maintain the best quality of life and which ones could increase your risk of side effects and lead to unnecessary costs. If you decide after this discussion that you need more information before making treatment decisions, it may be helpful to seek a second opinion.

MYTH: NO TREATMENT OF LUMP BECAUSE ITS PAINLESS.

When lump becomes painfull, it is already advanced disease.
Seek treatment early to get better results.

MYTH: CANCER IS INCURABLE.

Cancer is curable if treated early and proper treatment at proper place is done.
Early the stage – more the chances of cure.
Higher the stage – less the chance of cure.

MYTH: CANCER WILL INCREASE ONCE TOUCHED (BY SURGERY OR BIOPSY).

Cancer is growing at its own speed whether touched or not.
It increases after surgery only when improper surgery (inadequate) is done.

MYTH - IF YOU ARE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER, YOU WILL PROBABLY DIE.

Cancer is not a death sentence.
Advances in cancer detection and treatment have increased survival rates for most common types of cancer.
In fact, more than 60% of people with cancer survive five years or more after their initial diagnosis.

MYTH - SOME PEOPLE ARE TOO OLD FOR CANCER TREATMENT.

There is no age limit for cancer treatment. People with cancer should receive the treatment that is best suited to their condition, regardless of age.
Many older patients respond as well to cancer treatments as younger patients.
However, some older adults may have other illnesses that limit the use of specific treatments, so older adults with cancer are encouraged to talk with their doctor about the best approach for managing their disease.

MYTH - PEOPLE BEING TREATED FOR CANCER CAN’T STAY AT HOME, WORK, OR PARTICIPATE IN THEIR USUAL ACTIVITIES.

Most people living with cancer are treated in their home community on an outpatient basis (with periodic appointments at a hospital or clinic rather than an overnight stay at a hospital) and often continue with some or all of their day-to-day activities.
Many people can work part-time or full-time, care for their children, and attend social activities, despite undergoing cancer treatment.

MYTH - THERE ARE NO SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF CANCER.

Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.
Early detection is multifaceted. Strategies that raise awareness about cancer and the importance of seeking care when symptoms are present, along with interventions for early diagnosis have the greatest chance of improving cancer outcomes.

MYTH : CANCEROUS LUMPS.

Misconception: Any lumps or large masses detected during cancer screenings are cancerous.
Not every abnormality is an automatic cancer diagnosis.
Some tumors are benign, meaning they are non-cancerous, however, determining which are benign, pre-cancerous, and cancerous is why screenings are important.

Myth :

Common people think that cancer is a disease for wealthy and old age people however it is a global and epidemic disease which can affect all age group.