Today, Tuesday February 4 2014 is World Cancer Day. One of the things that the World Health Organization has called for today is that the myths about cancer should be debunked. According to statistics 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer yearly, and this year they predict it to go up to 19 million people, that’s a lot of people.
So our contribution today at FAB is to help sensitize people. Information about cancer cannot be too much so whatever you do today, help someone understand the truth about cancer. Let them know that Cancer is not for the rich, old, white, or careless. It can happen to anybody. Cancer is the one of the scariest diseases and a major cause of mortality all over the world.
World Cancer Day serves as a reminder that we can all take action to dispel the myths about cancer and work together to reduce the burden of the disease globally.
Myth 1: Nothing can be done about cancer. Treatment is only meant to delay death
Fact: With early diagnosis and right treatment strategies, one third of common cancers can be prevented and treated. The number of cancer survivors is increasing day-by-day. Moreover, with latest developments in cancer treatment, the quality of life of cancer patients can now be improved to a great extent.
Myth 2: You cannot control your risk of getting cancer
Fact: There’s no single magical spell that can completely prevent cancer, but with awareness, lifestyle and dietary changes, the risk of cancer can be reduced greatly.
Myth 3: If you don’t have anyone in your family suffering from cancer, you have nothing to worry about
Fact: It’s true that cancer is hereditary, but only 5 to 10 percent of cancers are inherited through genes. Mutation in cancer causing genes is the main reason why cancer develops during a lifetime. These changes mainly occur due to smoking, tobacco use, radiation and exposure to different chemicals.
Myth 4: Frequent use of deodorants, antiperspirants and hair colors or dyes can cause cancer.
Fact: There is scientific proof that these things can cause cancer or even increase cancer risk. Use of chemicals can be harmful to the body in a lot of ways, but it definitely does not cause cancer.
Myth 5: All cancers are painful despite advances in treatment
Fact: Pain is common in patients suffering from cancer. But, the developments in pain management techniques are truly remarkable and cancer pain can now be treated successfully in 95 percent of cancer cases.
Myth 6: Drinking water from bottles made of re-used plastic can cause cancer or drinking bottled water that’s been kept in a car for a long time can cause cancer due to release of some chemicals.
Fact: Neither of them is true. According to the American Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK, drinking water from bottles made from re-used plastic does not cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer. Chemicals that are released from bottled water are not yet scientifically proven to be carcinogenic.
Myth 7: Chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment is worse than getting the disease.
Fact: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have their own side effects and can be undesirable at times, but recent advances have made chemotherapy drugs and other treatments much tolerable. There’s a lot of scope in cancer treatment to ease side effects and improve the quality of life.
Myth 8: With daily use of sunscreen, you can prevent skin cancers
Fact: Using sunscreens everyday is good habit because it protects you from the sun’s UV radiation. It may reduce cancer risk but we cannot yet rely on sunscreen to eliminate the risk of cancer completely.
Myth 9: Smoking a couple of cigarettes in a day will not cause cancer.
Fact: Smoking is still the greatest contributor of cancer cases worldwide. Researchers believe that the relation between cancer risk and smoking is linear. Even if you cut down on smoking from 20 cigarettes to just say 2 cigarettes per day, your risk of dying due to other smoking related diseases (cancer, heart diseases, lung dysfunction) is reduced by just 5 percent.
Myth 10: Constant use of mobile phones can result in brain cancer.
Fact: Constant use of mobile phones is definitely not advisable because it might be harmful to the ears. But there is no established relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer. One such study analyzing the risk of cancer with mobile phones was carried out by experts at Danish Cancer Society. They screened about 420,000 mobile users in Denmark and found absolutely no relation between cancer incidence and mobiles. Other studies from the New England Journal of Medicine also report no connection. But researchers have not totally eliminated the possibility. More research is required to confirm the risk.