There is a lot of information about cancer available, but some of the information are misleading or wrong. Below are common cancer myths and the facts.
|My attitude will have an effect on cancer.||False. Things that promote positive thinking may improve a person’s quality of life and outlook.|
|Pharmaceutical companies, the government and medical establishments are hiding a cure for cancer.||There may not be a single cure for cancer, as hundreds of types of cancer exist, and respond differently to various types of treatment but there is still much to learn, which is why clinical trials are essential for making progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.|
|Cancer is contagious||Cancer is not a communicable disease. However, some cancers are caused by viruses and bacteria, which are contagious e.g. HPV – a sexually transmitted infection, that can cause cervical cancer. Hepatitis B or C – virus transmitted through sexual intercourse or use of infected IV needles, which can cause liver cancer.|
|Most cancers are hereditary||Family history of cancer increases your risk of developing the disease, but is not a complete prediction of your health. Studies have shown that 5 to 10% of cancers are hereditary. There are tests that determine if a person with a family history of a particular cancer carries the altered genes that put him or her at high risk for these diseases.|
|Cancer thrives on sugar||Eating sugar won’t speed up the growth of cancer, just as cutting down on sugar completely won’t slow down its growth. Consuming too many calories from sugar has been linked to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes, which increase the risk of developing cancer and other health problems.|
|Cancer treatment is usually worse than the disease||Although cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause unpleasant and side effects, recent advances have resulted in many drugs and radiation treatments that are better tolerated than in the past. Palliative care remains an important part of cancer care, which can help a person feel more comfortable at any stage of illness. People who receive both treatment for the cancer and treatment to ease side effects at the same time often have less severe symptoms and better quality of life.|
|The best cancer care involves all the tests, procedures and treatments available||Not every procedure is right for every person. Discuss with your doctor which ones will increase your chance of recovery, which ones may have an increased possibility of side effects.|
|Good people don’t get cancer||In ancient times, illness was often viewed as punishment for bad actions or thoughts. In some cultures that view is still held. There’s absolutely no evidence that you get cancer because you deserve it.|
|Using indoor tanning beds does not cause skin cancer||Tanning beds produce the same ultraviolet (UV) radiation as the sun, and tanning causes skin damage. To prevent skin cancer, limit your exposure to the sun or tanning salons, use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher when outside, and cover up with protective clothing and sunglasses.|
|Chewing tobacco, snuff or smoking shisha are safe alternatives to cigarettes||There is nothing healthy about snuff, shisha and chewing tobacco. They are just as addictive as cigarettes and can cause throat and mouth. Studies have shown that smoking one shisha is equivalent of smoking 20 – 100 cigarettes, depending on the concentration of tobacco used in the shisha.|
Take the initiative to see your doctor when something doesn’t feel right. Diagnosis and Treatment is more effective during the early stages of cancer, and often improves a person’s chances of survival. The best protection is early detection. Periodical cancer screening exams are advisable because early detection provides the very best chance for successful cancer treatment.