The Most Common Cancer Misconceptions

Cancer is mainly characterized by the non-stop division of cells and spread into the tissues around them. Human cells are intended to grow and divide to develop new cells, as required by the body. Damaged or old ones die and new cells replace them. But in cancer, cells behave abnormally, as damaged or old cells continue to thrive and new cells start to develop in areas where they aren’t meant to grow. The result of their non-stop growth is called tumor. There can be benign or malignant tumors, the latter of which would be the type to invade or spread into surrounding tissues.

The most common types of cancer are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer. Melanoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as pancreatic, leukemia, and endometrial cancers are quite common, too.

Early detection is important in treating cancer. It helps if you are conscious of your body’s changes so you will know when to go see a doctor. The usual symptoms associated with cancer are long-lasting sore throat, change in bowel movement, difficulty swallowing, indigestion, lump in the breast or any other part of your body, unusual discharge or bleeding, change in mole or wart, and nagging cough.

Unfortunately, the fear that seems to come inherently when you mention the word “cancer” is made a few times worse by several misconceptions, several of which will be discussed here.

1. Eating sugar aggravates cancer.

This is not true. Research shows that while cancer cells love sugar (glucose) more than regular cells, no studies have supported that consuming sugar will worsen cancer, or not consuming it will improve one’s cancer diagnosis. But a sugar-rich diet will cause excess weight gain, which may lead to obesity, a risk factor for some types of cancer.

2. Cancer risk depends on family history.

Most types of cancer are not caused by genetics. Cancer Research UK said that most cancers are developed due to gene faults that become apparent during a person’s lifetime, probably due to aging or exposure to certain factors, such as sunlight or cigarette smoke. These genes, however, are not inherited and cannot be inherited by your children. There are a few cases where family history may show that some people have a faulty gene, which increases their risk of developing cancer, more than most people. If your family history shows that members were afflicted with specific types of cancer, early detection is important.

3. Tumor biopsy or cancer surgery can spread cancer throughout the body.

There is an extremely low risk that cancer will spread to normal parts of the body during surgery.  Surgeons take precautionary steps to prevent this during a surgery or biopsy, such as using different surgical tools for the affected and unaffected areas.

4. Phones can cause cancer.

The National Cancer Institute said that the best research studies disprove this claim. Cancer cells develop due to genetic mutations. The low-frequency energy emitted by phones cannot damage genes.

5. Dental fillings have mercury that can escape and reach the organs, causing cancer and other diseases.

There is no proof to date that amalgam fillings, which can contain silver, copper, tin, and mercury, can have negative health effects. The only risk there is would be allergic reactions or some local side effects. If you’re worried about mercury, there are other alternatives to amalgam fillings.

6. Applying deodorants right after shaving can cause breast cancer.

According to a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2002 that focused on the link between antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer, the results did not show higher risk of cancer among the 1,606 women subjects. The only risk these products presented are in the form of skin irritation.

7. All cancers show symptoms.  

Many types of cancer are asymptomatic. They do not show symptoms at all, which is why screening is a must-do. Screening for bowel, breast or cervical cancer can save your life. When you reach 50, you need to undergo bowel cancer screening every two years. Fifty to 74-year-old women also need to have a mammogram every two years for breast cancer screening. Women who are 18 to 70 and have been sexually active should undergo a Pap test every two years.

For instance, in the case of breast cancer, an ultrasound procedure may need to be done on women under 30 before mammography in order to test palpable breast lump. This procedure is quite simple as you will only be required to not wear jewelry and dress up in loose, comfortable clothing. During the procedure, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and to put on a gown, lie on the examination table, and have a warm water-based ultrasound gel to aid the transducer in making contact with the body and remove any air pockets between the skin and the transducer that can possibly block the sound waves from getting into your body. The sonographer will move the transducer back and forth over the tested area until the images are captured. It only takes around 30 minutes to complete a breast ultrasound.

Early diagnosis can improve your cancer survival. Go get screened now.