6 Cancer Myths Debunked

General Medical

Cancer strikes fear in many people. We all know family or friends who have been struck down by cancer. Part of the fear comes from uncertainty which is how myths about cancer begin. There is a lot of false information surrounding the prevention and treatment of cancer. Some myths are harmless while others cause more fear or false hope.  

Myth 1 – A biopsy or surgery will cause the cancer to spread

Fact: A biopsy provides important information about a tumour. The chances of cancer spreading this way are extremely low. Your doctor or surgeon will take a set of precautions during the procedure to ensure it doesn’t happen.

Myth 2 – I’m safe from cancer because no one in my family has had cancer

A strong family history of cancer puts someone at a higher risk of developing cancer, but not all cancers are genetic. Exposure to smoking, radiation and eating a poor diet puts you at risk of developing some cancers.

Myth 3 – Eating sugar can cause cancer to develop faster

A diet high in sugar will not cause cancer to spread or increase faster than a low sugar diet. It is recommended to stay healthy during cancer treatment by eating a balanced diet.       

Myth 4 – Superfoods can prevent cancer

No one food or group of foods can prevent anyone from developing cancer. A healthy diet is beneficial for good overall health, but research has not found food can stop cancer. What we do know is that not smoking, staying active, limiting alcohol and keeping a healthy body weight can reduce the chance of getting cancer.

Myth 5 – Cancer rates are increasing

It may seem like the rates of cancer are increasing when you hear of friends and relatives being diagnosed. However, the rate of diagnosis is more to do with better screening and early detection. The biggest risk factor for cancer is age and we are living longer so our chance of developing cancer increases.     

Myth 6 - Cancer is a death sentence

The survival rates of some cancers have improved dramatically. When cancer is detected and treated early enough, some cancers sufferers have a greater than 90% chance of living at least five years following diagnosis.     

Research and trials are improving our knowledge of cancer every year, however, there are still many unknowns. Before you act on any wives’ tales related to cancer, check with your doctor to see if there is any validity in them.   


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Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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