Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Symptoms vary depending on the type. Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.
Myth: Cancer is contagious
Fact: It is not contagious. However, some cancers are caused by virus and bacteria that can be spread from person to person. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has been known to cause cervical, anal, and some kinds of head and neck cancers. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are viruses that increase the risk of developing liver cancer.
Myth: If you have a family history of cancer, you will get it too.
Fact: Having a family history of cancer increases the risk of developing the disease, it is not a complete prediction of your future health. An estimated 4 out of 10 cancers can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes, such as forming healthy eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, limiting alcoholic beverages, and avoiding tobacco products.
Myth: Cancer thrives on sugar.
Fact: There is no conclusive evidence that proves eating sugar will make cancer grow and spread more quickly. All cells in the body, both healthy cells and cancer cells, depend on sugar to grow and function. However, eating sugar won’t speed up the growth of cancer, just as cutting out sugar completely won’t slow down its growth.
Myth: It is easier to remain unaware you have cancer.
Fat: You should not ignore the symptoms or signs of cancer such as a breast lump or an abnormal-looking mole. Although the thought of having cancer is frightening, talking with your doctor and getting a diagnosis will give you the power to make informed choices and seek the best possible care. Because treatment is usually more effective during the early stages of cancer, an early diagnosis often improves a person’s chances of survival.
Myth: My attitude will have an effect on my cancer.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that a positive attitude will prevent cancer, help people with cancer live longer, or keep cancer from coming back. However, things that promote positive thinking such as relaxation techniques, support groups, and a strong network of family and friends may improve a person’s quality of life and outlook.
Myth: Cancer treatment is usually worse than the disease.
Fact: Although cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects, recent advances have resulted in many drugs and radiation treatments that are much better tolerated than in the past. As a result, symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and tissue damage are much less common.