Myth #1: Cancer is a fatal disease with no chance of cure.
FACT: Cancer is a treatable disease. If diagnosed early, some types of cancer can be completely cured. Even in advanced stage cancer, much can be done to alleviate symptoms and prolong survival.
Myth #2: There is nothing I can do to prevent cancer.
FACT: Wrong! Up to 40% of all cancers may be preventable if you avoid tobacco, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, protect yourself from the sun, limit or avoid drinking alcohol, and get recommended screenings regularly.
Myth #3: Only people with a high risk of cancer need to get cancer screening.
FACT: All adults should get regular cancer screening exams because early detection provides the very best chance for successful cancer treatment and a cure.
Myth #4: The only sure way to help prevent lung disease is to stop smoking.
FACT: Taking all the following actions can greatly decrease a person’s chances of developing lung cancer, although there is no way to prevent the disease entirely.
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding occupations like mining, installing asbestos and working with other harmful chemicals.
- Eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise
- Visiting a family physician at least once a year
Myth #5: Using indoor tanning beds does not cause skin cancer.
FACT: Tanning beds produce the same ultraviolet (UV) radiation as the sun. Any tan—no matter how you get it—is a sign of skin damage. To prevent skin cancer, limit your exposure to the sun or tanning salons, use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher when outside, and cover up with protective clothing and sunglasses.
Myth #6: Chewing tobacco, snuff or smoking shisha (argila) are safe alternatives to cigarettes.
FACT: There is nothing healthy about snuff, shisha and chewing tobacco. They are just as addictive as cigarettes and can cause cancers of the throat and mouth. In fact, smoking one shisha is the equivalent of smoking 20 – 100 cigarettes, depending on the concentration of tobacco used in the shisha.
Myth #7: Microwaving food in plastic containers releases dioxins that cause cancer.
FACT: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states on its website that substances used to make plastics can leach into foods. However the FDA has found the levels expected to migrate into foods to be well within the margin of safety based on information available to the agency. As for dioxin, the FDA says it “has seen no evidence that plastic containers or films contain dioxins and knows of no reason why they would.”
Myth #8: Chemotherapy drugs usually cause death and avoiding these drugs is a better option when they are needed.
FACT: Chemotherapy is considered safe when given by experts. Only rarely, do severe complications occur. Oncologists usually avoid using toxic medications, unless they are absolutely necessary. Before making this decision, talk to people who know best: physicians, nurses and fellow patients
Myth #9: Most cancers are hereditary.
FACT: It’s estimated that only 5% to 10% of all cancers are truly hereditary. There are now tests that can determine if a person with a strong family history of breast or colon cancer carries the altered genes that put him or her at high risk for these diseases.
Myth #10: I’ve smoked for 20 years and the damage has been done. It’s too late to stop smoking.
FACT: It’s never too late. Smokers who quit before age 50 halve their risk of dying from tobacco use in the next 15 years in comparison with those who continue smoking. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease, responsible for 87% of all lung cancer cases and 30% of all cancer deaths. It also places the smoker’s family at high risk for lung disease.