Cancer is a serious and life-altering disease, and it’s no surprise that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. Unfortunately, these myths can lead to delays in diagnosis, treatment, and support. To help cut through the confusion, here are some of the most common cancer myths and the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Cancer is contagious.
This is false. Cancer is not contagious and cannot be spread from person-to-person. In fact, most cancers are caused by environmental factors, such as smoking, sun exposure, and diet. That said, some cancers can be caused by viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B, which can be spread from person-to-person.
Myth 2: Cancer is inherited.
While some cancers do have a genetic component, the vast majority of cancers are not inherited. In fact, only about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are caused by inherited gene mutations. That said, if you have a family history of cancer, you may be at an increased risk for certain types of cancer and should talk to your doctor about your risk.
Myth 3: Eating sugar can cause cancer.
This is false. While eating a lot of sugar can lead to an increased risk of obesity, which can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, sugar itself does not directly cause cancer. That said, there is evidence to suggest that consuming a diet high in sugar can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as liver and pancreatic cancer.
Myth 4: Organic food can prevent cancer.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that organic food can prevent cancer. While organic food may be lower in certain pesticides, it is still not proven to reduce your risk of developing cancer. That said, eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is believed to reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.
Myth 5: Cancer treatments are always painful.
This is false. While some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can cause side effects such as pain, fatigue, and nausea, there are steps you can take to manage these symptoms. Additionally, many cancer treatments are now available as outpatient procedures and can be done with minimal pain and discomfort. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment plan to manage your symptoms and reduce your pain.
Myth 6: You can get cancer from stress.
This is false. While stress can have a negative impact on your overall health and well-being, it does not directly cause cancer. That said, stress can weaken your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to certain diseases and illnesses, including cancer.
By understanding the truth behind these common cancer myths, you can make more informed decisions about your health and well-being. If you have questions about cancer or are concerned about your risk, talk to your doctor.