Top 6 Most Popular Cancer Misconceptions

Cancer currently ranks as the third leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the country, next to cardiovascular and communicable diseases (Source: Department of Health–Health Intelligence Service or DOH–HIS, 1992, 1996). Any person regardless of race, social status or age can get  cancer as long as prerequisites like genes (oncogenes) and certain environmental factors (cancer-causing chemicals) are present in the equation. Developing a healthy lifestyle can decrease one’s cancer risks by leaps and bounds but there’s more to this fatal disease than meets the eye. In  fact, American Cancer Society has revealed that false health information and beliefs regarding cancer can potentially increase “cancer-causing behaviors”. For this reason, separating fact from fiction is a must for people to learn the real deal about cancer and its predisposing factors. Here are six of the most popular cancer misconceptions in recent years  that people should never believe:

Cell phones can cause cancer

According to a survey done by American Cancer Society, almost 30% of people believe that cell phones emit significant amounts of radiation that are enough to cause cancer. However, as far as accurate scientific evidences are concerned, there are no existing data to back up this claim. Compared to their predecessors, modern cell phones release lower amounts of radiation. In addition to that, the length of time that a person has been exposed to cell phone radiation is too difficult to trace which explains why experts believe that brain cancers are caused by other external factors not related to cell phone use. The most recent study that was done by Danish Cancer Society also proves that there is no important link that exists between brain cancer and cell phone use.


Positive thinking can cure cancer

Optimism can be a sure-fire way to boost your motivation but it’s  not powerful enough to cure cancer or any serious diseases for that matter. You can help a patient to have a quality life despite cancer by simply promoting positive thinking and strong social support but it can only satisfy the emotional needs of the cancer patient. Treatment is always holistic and in  the case of cancer, medical management combined with healthy spiritual/emotional support can draw the line between cancer survival and early death.


All tumors are cancerous

Any tumor found in the body is worthy of a careful observation and initial screening to determine if it’s a sign of something serious. However, tumors are generally classified as either malignant or benign with the latter being defined as non-cancerous and less serious. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, are considered more  fatal especially if they metastasize and spread to other organs. They often stay put in their location and grow faster compared to benign tumors. Regardless of their classification, tumors must never be taken for granted and proper screening procedures like biopsy must always be done to determine if it’s a serious health issue or not.


Cancer causes significant hair loss

When we hear about “cancer”, we often imagine someone who is bald and having the worst day of his life. However, that’s not always the case. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the ones to take the blame for hair loss phenomenon, not cancer itself. In addition to that, hair loss is not applicable to all cases of cancer therapy as some people don’t experience the same side-effects as other people do. And once you lose your hair due to cancer treatments, you have to remember that it’s not permanent and can begin to grow few weeks or months after the therapy.


Use of hair dye can cause brain cancer

It might hurt your hair in one way or another but use of hair dyes is not dangerous enough for you to increase your brain cancer risks. Sadly, most people still believe in this false assumption. According to Journal of American Medical Association, there is no existing link between hair dye and brain cancer; the misconception probably spawned from the false belief  that chemicals added in the hair dye are directly being absorbed by the brain.


Cancer is always fatal

Cancer has claimed thousands of lives around the world but it doesn’t mean that we should not keep our hopes up. It is fatal in most cases but with the help of recent medical discoveries and the proven power of early detection, cancer patients can significantly increase their chances of survival. We have heard a lot of miraculous stories from real cancer survivors so it’s quite unfair to generalize all cancer cases as fatal or hopeless.

Web sources:

Listverse. Top 10 Misconceptions about cancer.

Top five cancer misconceptions by Alice Park. www.time.com

Top ten cancer myths by Lisa Fayed. About.com Guide

© 2012, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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