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World Cancer Day 2017: Debunk the myths

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

February 4th is a World Cancer Day when associations and individuals around the planet unite to raise awareness about Cancer and work to make it a worldwide health concern. This awareness is essential as every year more than 8 million of the populace dies from cancer worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization, this year the celebration will be ”Taking place with the tagline  ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 will explore  how everyone – as a group or as an   individual – can do their part to lessen the global burden of cancer.”


However, efforts from such international organizations don’t prove completely successful as cancer is a forbidden and taboo topic in many homes. Victims and survivors might face discrimination and disdain from those around them. This all boils down to the fact that there has been no definitive cure for cancer that has been discovered or invented.

The fact that there is no certain cure, there has been a plethora of cancer myths, untruths and wishful thinking connected to cancer care – and they all do damage.

The following are the top 5 cancer myths that are most frustrating, almost painful, that the world needs to do away with:

It is celebrated as a key awareness day globally to unite the world in the fight against cancer, under one banner, aiming to save millions of lives each year, the theme for 2022-24 is “Close the Care Gap” i.e., every single one of us has the ability to make a difference, large or small, and that together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Cancer Myth 1: Diagnosis is equal to a death sentence

Truth: Many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and many others can be treated effectively.   Advances in understanding risk and prevention, early detection and treatment have revolutionized the management of cancer today which has lead to improved outcomes for patients.

Cancer Myth 2: It is contagious

Truth: Cancer is NOT contagious. A healthy person cannot ”catch” cancer from someone who has it. There is no evidence that close contact or things like sex, kissing, touching, sharing meals, or breathing the same air can spread cancer from one person to another.

Cancer Myth 3: All chemotherapy has dreadful side-effects and is not worth the effort

Truth: It’s a known fact cancer treatment – whether chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery – is no walk in the park. The side effects can be tough. But that’s only because the treatments are designed to kill cancer cells will inevitably affect healthy cells too. But that is no excuse for not undergoing it.

Although I can quote many medical facts about cancer but I would like to say that Cancer is a marathon and you cant look at the finish line and Cancer is a battle that can only be won with positivity and determination all along the treatment.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Cancer Myth 4: You won’t get cancer because there is none in your family history

Truth: All cancers are genetic but only a few are hereditary. Even if you avoid all known cancer risks and have no history of cancer in your family it is still possible to get random mutations that result in cancer

Cancer Myth 5: Elders are too old to get cancer treatment

Truth: You are never too old to fight cancer. There is growing evidence that in many cases older people can both tolerate and benefit from the same treatments as younger patients with the right package of assessment, information and support.

Read up more about and debunk these cancer myths. Apart from that, here is what you can do as an individual to prevent cancer and raise awareness about it:

To prevent cancer make healthy lifestyle choices that include keeping away from tobacco, getting ample physical activity, consumption of a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and staying safe in the sun with sunscreen. Learn about symptoms and signs of cancer and early detection guidelines because the early discovery of cancer often makes it easier to treat.

Provide support to cancer patients and survivors who suffer from the physical and emotional impacts of cancer even after the cure ends. Encourage them to share stories about their own cancer experiences, communicate with doctors, and join support groups to help make a constructive change for all people affected by cancer.

Also Read: Can You Get Herpes from Kissing? Demystifying Common Health Myths

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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