Myths and Facts

Myths and Facts

Myth #1 The risk of dying from Cancer in the US is increasing.

Fact   The risk of a typical person in the United States dying of cancer has been going down steadily since the early 1990’s. More than half of the people diagnosed with cancer today will be cured. It may seem that the risk is growing because of the large baby-boom group is aging and cancer typically affects older people. But, when adjusted for age, the cancer death rate is decreasing, the risk of dying of cancer is dropping.

Myth #2 Regularly eating meat cooked on a charcoal grill won’t increase your risk for cancer.

Fact  You can increase your risk if you overuse your barbeque. Research shows grilling and broiling meat creates cancer-causing substances –especially if they are well done or burnt. However, this idea is still theory. It makes sense to limit your exposure to those chemicals, but the best nutrition advice for preventing cancer is to chose a diet consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. 

Myth #3 Treating cancer with surgery causes it to spread throughout the body.

Fact  An oncologic surgeon is cancer physician who specializes in taking biopsy samples and to remove tumors. In many cases, surgery is a planned part of the cancer treatment plan and does not cause the cancer to spread throughout the body.

Myth #4 Some injuries can cause cancer later in life.

Fact  It’s common for people to pay more attention to the injured part of the body, and some people discover tumors while rubbing a painful area. This doesn’t mean that the injury caused the cancer. In rare cases, longstanding injuries that don’t heal can increase cancer risk, but these account for small fraction of cancer cases. Long-standing infections, such as certain forms of hepatitis or the bacteria that contributes to stomach ulcers, lead to more cancers than injuries.

Myth #5 Living in a polluted city is a greater risk of lung cancer than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

Fact  Air pollution does contribute to lung cancer risk, but has a greater impact on heart disease, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. Being a smoker, or even being frequently exposed to second hand smoke is more dangerous than the level of pollution encountered in the US cities.

Myth #6 Electronic devices, like cell phones, can cause cancer in the people who use them.

Fact  The kind of radiation emitted by cell phones, microwave ovens and related appliances does not cause the kind of DNA changes that are caused by ionizing radiation such as gamma rays and x-rays. The available evidence does not implicate cell phones as a cause of cancer.

Myth #7 What someone does as a young adult has little impact on their chances of getting cancer later in life. 

Fact  Most cases of cancer are the consequences of many years of exposure to several risk factors. What you eat, whether you are physically active, whether you were ever sun-burned as a child, and especially, whether you smoke as young person has a substantial influence whether you develop cancer later in life.

Myth #8 Household bug spray can cause cancer.

Fact  Available evidence does NOT suggest a link between household use of pesticides and cancer. On the other hand, these products can be dangerous if precautions regarding breathing and direct contact are not followed. 

Myth #9 A positive attitude is all you need to beat cancer.

Fact  There is no scientific proof that a positive attitude gives you an advantage in cancer treatment or improves your chance of being cured. What a positive attitude can do is improve your quality of life during cancer treatment and beyond. You may be more likely to stay active, maintain ties to family and friends, and continue social activities. In turn, this may enhance your feeling of well-being and help you find the strength to deal with your cancer.

Myth #10 If we can put a man on the moon, we should have a cure for cancer by now.

Fact  Finding a cure for cancer is proving to be more complex than mastering the engineering and physics required for spaceflight. Cancer actually includes a large group of diseases. Each can have many different causes. Despite advantages in diagnosis and treatment, doctors still have much to learn about what triggers a cell to become cancerous and why some people with cancer do better than others.

Myth #11 Regular checkups and today’s medical technology can detect all cancer early.

Fact  Although regular medical care can indeed increase your ability to detect cancer early, it can’t guarantee it. Cancer is a complicated disease, and there’s no sure way to always spot it. Routine screening has been linked to a decrease in deaths from cancers of the cervix, breast and colon. Overall cancer deaths in the United States have declined for the last few years.

Myth #12 Undergoing cancer treatment means you can’t live at home, work or go about your usual activities.

Fact  Most people with cancer are treated on an outpatient basis in their home communities. At times it may be helpful to travel to a specialty medical center can work with doctors in your hometown so that you can be with your family and friends and perhaps even resume work. A great deal of research has gone into making it easier for people to live more normal lives during their cancer treatment. For example, drugs are now available to help better control nausea. The result is you’re often able to work and stay active during your treatment.

Myth #13 Cancer is always painful.

Fact  Some cancers never cause pain. For people who do experience cancer pain, especially people with advanced cancer, doctors have become more aware of the need to control such pain and have learned better ways to manage it. Although all pain may not be eliminated, it may be controlled to the point at which it has little impact on your day-to-day living.

Myth #14 Everyone with the same kind of cancer gets the same kind of treatment.

Fact  Your doctor tailors your treatment to you. What treatment you receive depends on where your cancer is, whether or how much it has spread, and how it’s affecting your body functions and your general health. More and more, cancer treatment is being tailored based on your genes. These genes, which you’re born with, may show that your body processes certain chemotherapy treatments and drugs differently than someone else. Genetic testing on your cancer cells can also help guide your general health.