Battling cancer? Some facts and myths to know

It’s good to be living in an age where life expectancy has gone up and we are able to fight diseases like never before. Cancer remains one of the most dreaded illnesses even today, but the good news is that survival rates have increased over the last five decades from an average of 24 per cent in the 1970s to about 50 per cent.Overall, the death rate in the US from all types of cancers fell 25 percent between 1991 and 2014.

But most of us have little or no information and are often misguided by the myths that are deeply rooted in old theories without any scientific base around the disease. Such beliefs can come in the way of your treatment causing anxiety and deter prevention of the disease.

Let’s look at some popular myths that one should ignore.

Cancer is contagious

It is one of the most bizarre things that you would have heard about Cancer. It is not contagious and the myth that the disease can spread if you come in physical contact with a cancer patient is false. However, the truth is certain bacteria and viruses that can pose risk of cancer are contagious and can be passed from one person to another. For instance helicobacter pylori is a common bacterium to be linked to stomach cancer.

Cancer is deadly

The most widespread belief about cancer, that it’s deadly, is not true!

Researchers have found decline in the cancer mortality rate and you should know that between 30–50 per cent of cancers can currently be prevented.

The disease can be treatable if detected in the early stages. By taking screening tests such as colonoscopy, mammography, and a Pap test, cancer can be easily detected, but biopsy remains one of the most accurate diagnosis procedures. However, the best thing is to find about the risk factors that can help you make informed lifestyle choices.

It’s hereditary

The fact that if you have a family history of cancer might increasethe risk of developing the disease, but it doesn’t act as full proof evidence that you will get it too. Even if you end up inheriting certain cancerous genes putting you at risk, it’s wise to consult your doctor who will help you in taking preventive steps either through medications or surgery.

Avoid sugar

Another popular myth around the disease is that consuming sugar will make cancer grow and spread more quickly. There is no scientific evidence that proves cancerous cells in the body depend on sugar for its growth and function.

Use of deodorant increases risk of breast cancer

This myth comes straight from women who believe that there is a link between deodorant or antiperspirant use and breast cancer. Researchers have established that there is no evidence to support this myth that applying deodorant or antiperspirant increases the risk of cancer.

Use of mobile phones

You should know that cancer is caused by genetic mutations when cells start to grow uncontrollably. These cells eventually grow to form a mass called tumor that could be cancerous or benign. But there is no connection between cellphones emitting a type of low-frequency energy risking damage genes. Researches have found that radiofrequency energy does not lead to any damage in DNA causing cancer.

Herbal products can cure cancer

If you are undergoing chemotheraphy and thinking of alternative or complementary therapies to cope with the side effects, then just hold on. You should know that some herbal products may be harmful when taken during chemotherapy or radiation therapy and interfere with the treatment. So, always consult your doctor before resorting to any other treatment.

It is possible to deal with the disease with a lot of positivity and right kind of treatment. However, it is also important to be absolutely informed about the disease. With our series of blogs, we hope to do that for you – bring together all the necessary information that the patients need to know.