If there’s one diagnosis that strikes fear in people, it’s cancer. For most of us, developing cancer is the worst thing that we could ever imagine. We all know someone who has been impacted by it, and if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some horror stories about it.
Let’s be clear, cancer is a devastating disease that can cause immeasurable pain and torment, and it’s perfectly reasonable to be scared of it, but a lot of the fear people experience is born from myths. Cancer is one of the most widely researched diseases on the planet, but scientists in every corner of the world spend countless hours looking into the disease and how it develops and can be treated.
Despite their efforts, common rumors continue to swirl that can make people feel even more paranoid about it and give them completely false information that they use to pass judgement on the subject. To dispel some of the confusion, we’ve put together some of the top myths around cancer, as well as why they’re false.
1. Cancer Is Always Terminal
The first myth many people believe is that cancer is always terminal. When people hear the word cancer, they automatically assume that the diagnosis is essentially a death sentence. This isn’t to say that cancer doesn’t kill people – millions of people die worldwide from the disease – but a cancer diagnosis isn’t an automatic death sentence. In fact, over 60% of people live for at least five years after their diagnosis, with many people going on to be cured entirely.
2. Herbal Remedies Cure Cancer
Some people prefer to go down the herbal treatment route instead of traditional treatments because they believe the side-effects will be less and the chances of a cure are higher, but this is false. There is no evidence to suggest that herbal treatments work better – if at all – compared to proven methods of treatment, and some even cause more damage.
3. Cancer Treatment Makes People Feel Worse
Most people associate cancer with treatments like chemotherapy, and this has a reputation for being a particularly unpleasant treatment with some nasty side effects. Whilst some treatments can and do make patients feel unwell, not all have this effect and it’s individual to every patient. Some treatments like MR Linac or wider radiotherapy can have very few side effects, and most are mild (find out what is MR Linac here). This means whilst some treatments are unpleasant, not all of them make you feel worse.
4. Cancer Can’t be Cured
As well as those who believe holistic treatments can cure cancer, there are some people who believe cancer can’t be cured at all. This is simply false as millions of people who have cancer do go on to get cured and live full, healthy lives thereafter. Terminal cancers can’t be cured, but many others can, especially those diagnosed and treated in the early stages.
5. Cancer Didn’t Exist Years Ago
We often hear people say that cancer is a modern problem and that 50+ years ago it was unheard of. This is totally untrue. Cancer was first realized in the Ancient Egyptian era, meaning it’s a disease humans have been aware of for at least 5,000 years. The reason why it seems like a modern problem now is that people are living longer than ever before, meaning they’re more likely to develop the disease as they age. We also have more comprehensive testing in place now, making it easier to diagnose.
These are just five myths about cancer, but there are many more circulating. Remember to only listen to advice from professionals regarding healthcare and treatment, and don’t believe anecdotal stories or stories with little evidence.