BENGALURU: MYTH: If you are diagnosed with cancer, you are staring at death any moment.
FACT: Cancer is not a death sentence. People live well for years and decades thanks to advances in managing cancer.
MYTH: Cancer is contagious.
FACT: It is not Contagious. It is incapable of spreading from person to person through contact. However, did you know that certain viral infections can predispose to risk for development of cancer? Viruses like HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is linked to Cancer of Cervix, Anal Canal, certain types of Head and Neck Cancers. Hepatitis B and C (Liver Cancer) are possible to be transmitted via sexual activity and exposure to blood through infected needles and blood products.
MYTH: Hair dyes and antiperspirants can cause cancer.
FACT: There is no such evidence linking them to any cancer.
MYTH: If you have a family history of cancer, you will get it too. There is nothing you can do about it.
FACT: No. While the increased risk exists, it can be prevented by following certain screenings, tests and protocols. Avoidance of risk factors, proper healthy lifestyle can lead to reduced risk.
MYTH: Cancer grows rapidly if sugar is consumed.
FACT: No. Excess consumption of sugar, or deficiency of it, has no effect on cancer growth.
MYTH: Cancer is painful.
FACT: Not at all. Truth is, many of the patients are in an advanced stage of cancer as they do not suffer pain and hence don’t visit a doctor on time. Pain, when it does happen, is usually due to secondary effects. The latest pain management medication and techniques are very effective.
MYTH: Pharma companies, the Government, and the Medical establishment are hiding a cure for cancer.
FACT: Nobody is withholding a miracle cure. There are no miracle potions to prevent cancer.
MYTH: Cancer treatment is usually worse than the disease.
FACT: Not at all. The latest molecules in Chemotherapy and immunotherapy and advances in Radiation and Pain management actually give way to a vastly improved quality of life. It is better than leaving the cancer untreated.
MYTH: People being treated for cancer can’t work, or participate in their usual activities and need to be hospitalised frequently.
FACT: Most people living with cancer are treated on an outpatient basis or as Day Care for few hours. They continue with some or all of their day-to-day activities. They can work, care for their children, and attend social activities, even while undergoing treatment.
MYTH: Cell phones cause cancer.
FACT: There is no credible study available that consistently proves that using a cell phone can cause cancer.
(The Author is a Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist and Hemato-Oncologist at HCG and Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru)