Cancer is still one of the most dreaded diseases, owing to misunderstandings and misinformation.
This year’s theme for World childhood Cancer Day is debunking harmful cancer myths and beliefs, as cancer kills more people than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that diseases that are preventable and treatable will continue to kill millions of people throughout the world unless considerable action is taken.
As a child, we all are curious and have endless questions. But these questions are the way to the solution and being informative about everything around us. Though factually incorrect, notions regarding how cancer begins and spreads often appear to make logic, especially when they are based on outdated theories.
However, incorrect cancer beliefs can cause unnecessary anxiety and even obstruct reasonable cancer preventive and treatment decisions. This SLTL medical blog contains the most up-to-date scientific evidence on some common cancer myths and beliefs.
Cancer can be a death sentence?
- Cancer is still one of the most dreaded diseases, owing to misunderstandings and misinformation. We must debunk the idea that cancer is a death sentence by promoting efficient cancer prevention and early detection methods. Many malignancies can be cured with prompt therapy. Many tumours that were formerly fatal are now curable with good therapy. Advances in risk assessment, prevention, early detection, and therapy have transformed cancer care, resulting in better patient outcomes.
- In the previous six years, the Ruby Hall Clinic’s cancer care centre in Pune has treated over 25,000 patients. And some of the most prevalent misunderstandings among patients have been investigated to debunk false beliefs.
- “One prevalent misconception is that cancer treatment prevents you from living at home, working, or doing your normal activities. However, because of advancements in cancer therapy, the majority of cancer patients are treated as outpatients (OPD). Doctors can collaborate with doctors in your hometown to allow you to remain with your family and friends while also perhaps returning to work. Medicines have adverse effects that can be controlled with drugs. As a consequence, you’ll be able to work and keep active during your therapy “Jain said.
- “Cancer has become substantially more durable as a result of new advancements in early diagnosis. It is now feasible to live a healthy and normal life with cancer, thanks to a healthy lifestyle and good treatments “a breast cancer surgeon Anupama Mane stated.
A tumour biopsy or cancer surgery can cause cancer to spread?
Surgery has a very minimal probability of causing cancer to spread to other places of the body. During biopsies or surgery to remove tumours, doctors employ unique tools and take several actions to prevent cancer cells from spreading. When they need to remove tissue from many areas of the body, for example, they utilise different surgical instruments for each place. See our article on Metastatic Cancer for more information on how cancer spreads throughout the body.
Exposure to air will worsen cancer?
No. Tumors will not grow quicker or spread to other regions of the body as a result of exposure to air. See our article on Metastatic Cancer for more information on how cancer spreads throughout the body.
Can cancer be transmitted from person to person?
No, in general. Cancer is not a disease that spreads quickly from one person to another. Only in the case of organ or tissue transplantation is cancer capable of spreading from one person to another. A person who gets an organ or tissue from a cancer-stricken donor may be at a higher risk of acquiring transplant-related cancer in the future. However, the risk of malignancy is exceedingly low—roughly two instances per 10,000 organ transplants. Doctors try to avoid using organs or tissue from people who have had cancer.
Certain viruses (certain forms of human papillomavirus, or HPV, for example) and bacteria can cause cancer in some people (such as Helicobacter pylori). While a virus or bacteria can move from person to person, the malignancies they can cause cannot. See the NCI fact sheet on Helicobacter pylori and Cancer and our sites on HPV and Cancer and Infectious Agents for further information on cancer-causing viruses and bacteria.
What role does my attitude play in determining whether I am at risk for or likely to recover from cancer?
There is no solid scientific evidence linking a person’s “attitude” to their chance of acquiring or dying from cancer as of yet. It’s natural to feel unhappy, angry, or disheartened while you have cancer, and to feel cheerful or upbeat at other times. Positive people are more likely to keep social relationships and stay active, and physical activity and emotional support can help you manage cancer. See the NCI fact page on Psychological Stress and Cancer for additional information.
Can sugar increase my cancer risk?
No. Even though cancer cells require more sugar (glucose) than normal cells, no studies have proved that consuming sugar causes cancer to worsen or that stopping eating sugar causes cancer to shrink or vanish. A high-sugar diet, on the other hand, can lead to excessive weight gain, and obesity is linked to an increased risk of getting numerous forms of cancer. See the NCI fact page on Obesity and Cancer for additional information.
What are the risks of using artificial sweeteners?
No. Saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame are artificial sweeteners (sugar replacements) that have been studied for their safety and found no evidence that they cause cancer in humans. Except for cyclamate, all of these artificial sweeteners have been approved for sale in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. See the NCI fact page on Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer for additional information.
Is it possible to cure cancer with herbal products?
No. Although some studies suggest that alternative or complementary therapies, such as herbs, may help patients cope with the side effects of cancer therapy, no herbal medicines have been proven to be beneficial in cancer treatment. Certain herbal medications may be dangerous when used in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, since they may interfere with the effectiveness of these therapies. Patients with cancer should discuss any complementary and alternative medicine items they are using, such as vitamins and herbal supplements, with their doctor. See Complementary and Alternative Medicine for further details.
Does having a family member with cancer make me more likely to develop the disease?
Certainly not. Cancer is caused by detrimental alterations in genes (mutations). Only around 5 to 10% of malignancies are generated by dangerous mutations passed down through the generations. Multiple family members will frequently acquire the same form of cancer in families with a hereditary cancer-causing mutation. These malignancies are known as “hereditary” or “familial” cancers.
The remaining 90 to 95 percent of cancers are caused by mutations that occur naturally over time as a personage and is exposed to environmental factors like cigarette smoke and radiation. Cancers that are “non-hereditary” or “spontaneous” are referred to as such.
Is it safe to assume that I will be immune to cancer if no one in my family has had it?
No. According to the latest statistics, around 38% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life. The majority of cancers are caused by genetic alterations that occur naturally when a person ages and is exposed to environmental influences such as cigarette smoking and radiation. Other factors, such as the type of food you eat, how much you eat, and whether or not you exercise, can all affect your cancer risk. See Cancer Causes and Risk Factors for further information.
Breast cancer and antiperspirants: Are they linked?
No. So far, the best studies have revealed no indication of a relationship between antiperspirant and deodorant ingredients and alterations in breast tissue. See the NCI fact page on Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer for additional information.
Are you at risk of cancer if you use hair dye?
Personal hair colour usage does not appear to raise the risk of cancer, according to scientific data. However, other studies show that hairdressers and barbers who work with big amounts of hair colour and other chemical items daily may have a higher risk of bladder cancer. See the NCI fact page on Hair Dye and Cancer Risk for additional information.
What is the risk of cancer from cell phones?
No, according to the best research done thus far. Genetic mutations are the source of cancer, while mobile phones produce a form of low-frequency radiation that does not harm DNA. See the NCI fact page on Cell Phones and Cancer Risk for additional information.
Is cancer caused by power lines?
No, according to the best research done thus far. Both electric and magnetic energy is emitted by power lines. Power lines’ electric energy can easily shield or diminished by walls and other things. Power lines release magnetic energy, which is a low-frequency sort of radiation that does not harm DNA. See the NCI fact page on Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer for additional information.