They say what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But when it comes to cancer, it’s what you think you know that could actually kill you. It’s time to correct commonly held but false beliefs about Cancer
MYTH: CANCER IS CONTAGIOUS
FACT: No, cancer is not contagious and does not spread by touching or kissing. However , organ transplant from cancer afflicted person can result in spread of cancer. But organ donor are carefully screened to prevent this from happening Some viruses like Human Papilloma Virus can be one of the causative agents in cancer of cervix, vagina and penis and Ebstein Bar Virus is linked to nose and throat cancers but these infections alone do not cause cancer and there are other factors also involved
MYTH: CANCER IS DEATH SENTENCE
FACT: With the advent of new advances and understanding of cancer, Cancer no longer needs to be a death sentence. Screening, Early detection and treatment have revolutionalised the outcome of patients with Cancer and there are now a steadily increasing number of survivors today. Sadly, but in developing countries, lack of adequate screening and late presentation of disease often creates a dismal picture of cancer
MYTH: BIOPSY OR SURGERY LEADS TO SPREAD OF CANCER
FACT: The chance that surgery will cause cancer to spread to other parts of the body is negligible. The benefits of biopsy or surgery in estabilishing the diagnosis of cancer , its management and even cure are well established. Following standard procedures, cancer specialists use special methods and take many steps to prevent cancer cells from spreading during biopsies or surgery to remove tumors. For example, if they must remove tissue from more than one area of the body, they use different surgical tools for each area.
MYTH: HERBAL PRODUCTS CAN CURE CANCER
FACT: As of now there is no authentic documented evidence to prove this. Although some studies suggest that alternative or complementary therapies, including some herbs, may help patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment, no herbal products have been shown to be effective for treating cancer. In fact, some herbal products may be harmful when taken during chemotherapy or radiation therapy because they may interfere with how these treatments work.
MYTH: CANCER IS A GENETIC DISEASE
FACT: Not necessarily. Cancer is caused by harmful changes (mutations) in genes. Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are caused by harmful mutations that are inherited from a person’s parents. In families with an inherited cancer-causing mutation, multiple family members will often develop the same type of cancer. These cancers are called “familial” or “hereditary” cancers.The remaining 90 to 95 percent of cancers are caused by mutations that happen during a person’s lifetime as a natural result of aging and exposure to environmental factors, such as tobacco smoke and radiation. These cancers are called “non-hereditary” or “spontaneous” cancers.
MYTH: ELDERLY PERSONS CANNOT WITHSTAND CANCER TREATMENT
FACT: In the current era of safe practice and different modalities to control various age related morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, etc, age is no longer a deterrant for cancer treatment. Carefully selected patients are now operated successfully with excellent results.