Myth Breakers

World Cancer Day 2018 : Debunking 7 Cancer Myths

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The very mention of cancer causes people to break out cold sweat, suffer palpitations and feel faint. Yes, Cancer has that effect on people. However, it is the rumours and myths surrounding the diseases and how it happens is what is most dangerous. Unfortunately, thanks to half-baked knowledge and wrong information cropping up randomly, people unnecessarily worry about Cancer as a disease. This also causes people to respond and react wrongly to the diagnosis of cancer.

Therefore, to clear the confusion, we are debunking the most common cancer myths. They are:

MYTH #1 Cancer = death sentence

Yes, people do die of cancer. But 1/3rd of all cancers can be cured if they are detected and diagnosed, and then treated early on. This is very reason why doctors and healthcare professionals constantly push their patients, friends and family members for regular health check-ups. About nine of ten people who suffer from different types of cancer such as prostate, thyroid and breast cancer can survive for a minimum of five years after their disease is diagnosed. Research and constant medical advancement mean that more and more people who are suffering from cancer, even at an advanced stage, can live longer lives.

MYTH #2 It is contagious

Cancer is anything but contagious! One cannot acquire the disease if they touch someone suffering from cancer or are present in the same room. So, no, it is not a communicable disease. In very rare cases, when someone has had a tissue or an organ transplant, they can develop cancer if the donor had cancer. Also, while it is not communicable, viruses like Hepatitis B or C that spreads through sexual intercourse or contaminated needles can increase one’s chances of liver cancer. Also, the HPV or Human papillomavirus which is an STD can increase one’s risk of cervical cancer.

MYTH #3 Sugar boosts cancer growth

It is a fact that cancer cells do absorb more sugars than any normal cells. However, there is no scientific evidence that suggests that sugary foods or high intake of sugar will boost cancer in one’s body. People who have high sugar intake are at a risk of diabetes as they gain excessive weight. Those who are obese and are diabetic, however, are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

MYTH #4 Negative thoughts and attitude will cause cancer

Negativity is never a good thing, but it won’t cause cancer. There is no scientific evidence that points to the fact that negative attitude or bad thoughts can cause death by cancer. Cancer is a deadly disease and people who suffer from cancer experience a gamut of emotion. They feel angry, sad, confused, frightened and even hopeless. However, a positive attitude may help them overcome stress during treatment.

MYTH #5 A tumour biopsy or surgery for cancer removal will spread the disease

There is a possibility that cancer may have spread but the chances of this occurring due to a biopsy or surgery is very very low. Cancer surgeons are highly meticulous and with advanced procedures, they take all necessary steps.

MYTH #6 Cancer is most definitely hereditary!

Yes, cancer can be inherited but the chances are about 5-10% only because of genetic mutations. If one has a strong family history of cancer, then they are at a higher risk of developing the disease. But this doesn’t mean that they will get cancer at some point in time in their lives. However, factors like exposure to radiation, ageing and smoking play a significant role.

MYTH #7 No family history of cancer so no risk of cancer

At least 2 in 5 people will develop cancer in their life. It is caused by genetic mutations within the cells. One may have inherited these mutated genes from parents or earlier generation. However, factors like smoking, exposure to radiation, and viruses also play an important role in developing cancer.

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