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Cancer Myths Debunked

Myths and misconceptions about cancer can cause unnecessary worries about your health. The wrong information may even affect the way one responds or reacts to a diagnosis of this disease. Here are some common cancer myths:


death sentence

Cancer is a death sentence

FACT: About a third of all cancers can be cured if they are detected and treated early. That is why regular health check-ups and screenings are important. Today, about 9 in 10 people with certain cancers, like breast, prostate and thyroid cancers, survive for at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed. New cancer treatments also mean that more people with advanced cancers can live longer.


cancer is not contagious

Cancer is contagious

FACT: You cannot catch cancer from someone who has it. Spending time with a loved one who has cancer will not cause you to get it too. Rarely will a person who has had an organ or tissue transplantation develop cancer from a donor who had cancer previously. Although cancer itself does not spread from person to person, certain viruses can increase your risk of getting cancer. Hepatitis B or C spreads through sexual intercourse or infected needles and increases your risk of getting liver cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually-transmitted infection that can increase your risk of getting cervical cancer.


sugary foods 1

Eating sugar will make cancer grow faster

FACT: Research has shown that cancer cells absorb more sugar than normal cells. But there is no scientific evidence to suggest that eating sugar or sweet foods will worsen cancer. However, a diet high in sugar can cause you to gain excess weight and increase your risk of diabetes. People who are obese or have diabetes have a higher risk of developing certain cancers.


bad thoughts

Bad thoughts or negative attitudes will cause me to develop or die from cancer

FACT: There is no scientific evidence to show that you can increase your risk of cancer or die from it because of a negative attitude, or vice versa. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are likely to experience many different emotions. You might feel sad, angry, frightened or discouraged. When the going gets tough, a positive attitude might be able to help you cope better with your cancer diagnosis or side effects of treatment.


death sentence

Surgery or a tumour biopsy will cause cancer to spread

FACT: Although possible, the chances of this occurring are extremely low. Your surgeon follows a strict set of procedures and takes steps to prevent this from happening when he or she is performing a biopsy.


death sentence

If someone in my family has cancer, I am likely to get it too

FACT: About five to ten per cent of cancers are caused by inherited genetic mutations. A strong family history of cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing it. However, this does not imply you will definitely get cancer later in life. For cancer to develop, other factors such as ageing, smoking, and radiation play a part as well.


death sentence

I am safe from cancer because no one in my family has had it

FACT: About two in five people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. Cancer is caused by genetic mutations that occur within the cells. You may have inherited the gene mutation from your parents. However, gene mutations can also occur from factors such as exposure to smoking, radiation, other cancer-causing substances, and even viruses. Other risk factors such as obesity and diabetes can also increase your risk of developing cancer.


hair dye 1

I get cancer from dyeing my hair

FACT: At the moment, there is no conclusive proof that using hair dye increases cancer risk. Some studies show that people who are regularly exposed to hair dye, like hairdressers and stylists, might have a higher risk of developing cancer. However, it is not known how much hair dye might increase this risk.



Cancer treatment will bankrupt me

FACT: Besides coping with the reality of a cancer diagnosis, you may also worry about treatment costs. Fortunately, financial assistance and aid are available to help you tide through this difficult period.