World Cancer Day (WCD) – The Myths and the Miseries

By: Huba Khan

World Cancer Day (WCD) is observed every year on 4th of February globally. It was first planned in the Geneva, Switzerland in 1933 under the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC). It was supported by various cancer research societies, research institutes and centers.

The main aim to celebrate this day is to spread awareness and help end the suffering of cancer patients. Different events, seminars, and pamphlets are distributed in many countries around the world to make people believe it is a curable condition.

Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society:

“Cancer can start any place in the body. It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should.”1

How does Cancer grow?

“Most cancers start due to gene changes that happen over a person’s lifetime. More rarely cancers start due to inherited faulty genes passed down in families.” –  Cancer Research UK 2

Most Common Types of Cancer

According to the latest update by World Health Organization (WHO), the most common, diagnosed types of cancer in the world are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer

 Symptoms and its Indication

With numerous kinds and categories of cancer, its symptoms and treatments are entirely different from each other. Some cancer developments can be felt or seen through the skin such as a lump on the breast (Breast Cancer). Skin Cancer (Melanoma) can be detected through unusual warts or moles on the skin’s surface. Another example can be the white patches or white spots inside the mouth or on the tongue which indicate Oral Cancer. But many categories of cancer have non-physical symptoms or appearance but they tend to alarm with different functional changes like frequent constipation, diarrhea in the case of  Colon Cancer.

Preventions

The risk of getting any kind of cancer can be lower if people take care of these major lifestyle choices:

  • Avoid Smoking (Not just smoking a cigarette but avoid passive smoking too).
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet.
  • Limit Sun Exposure (Use UVA/UVB creams, glasses, hats).
  • Physical Exercise (Regular joking, yoga, and any other activity can prevent bad health).
  • Avoid Alcohol (Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the risk of Oesophageal, and Breast cancer).
  • Self-screening (Self-screening of your body is the easiest way to keep a keen eye on body’ unusual developments).

Treatments

Cancer treatment depends on what category it falls in but the process usually involves these following treatments:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormone Therapy or Gene Therapy

Myths and Stigmas about Cancer

It is of the nature that people tend to believe on more fabricated myths and misconceptions. Despite the advancements in thoughts and technologies, the Internet is still not an authentic and dependable resource to research and develop a concept regarding any health issue.

Here are the most common myths and stigmas about cancer that people still believe and get easily misguided.

Cancer is a Man-made Disease

A doctor draws medicine into a syringe during a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.The US Supreme Court is expected to announce their decision on the US President Barack Obama's healthcare law on June 28. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

Cancer is not a modern man-made disease of the Western society. The Greek and Egyptians physicians have described cancer’s cell and its development since about three thousand years ago.

Is Cancer Contagious?

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No! Cancer is not a contagious disease that easily spreads from person to person. The only condition in which cancer can spread is the transplantation of any organ or tissue. If a person who receives a cancer affected tissue or organ might be at risk of getting the same disease.

Cancer has a Sweet Tooth

sweet_tooth_sticker-p217578008624181345qjcl_400It is widely claimed that sugar accelerates cancer growth and if people eliminate sugar from their diet then it will cure the disease. But there is no authentic evidence that proves this point of view. No doubt, eliminating sugar from daily diet can reduce many heath issues but not completely cure any kind of cancer.

Only Females Experience Breast Cancer

Couple using badge to support AIDS or breast cancer

Although major breast cancer patients around the world are females but males also develop breast cancer. Males have a smaller amount of breast tissues as compare to females which lowers its risk but they have breast tissues which puts them at risk to this disease.

If your Family has It, Then It’s your Turn

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According to different researchers, only 5% to 10% of cancers are passed down from parents to children. Most cancers are caused by genetic changes that people experience throughout their lifetime.

Cancer and Pain are interlinked

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Not all cancer patients suffer extreme pain but yes it is one of the most common symptoms however most people think cancer is about all the pain and the depression. But this stigma should be eliminated from people’s mind. If the pain does occur, it can be successfully treated with the right kind of medications and treatments. There is no reason to remain silent if any individual suffers from pain and depression.

 Too Old for Cancer Treatmento-OLD-PATIENTS-570

Cancer can develop at any stage of your life and there is no age limit for a cancer treatment. The process of recovery as compare to younger patients might be slow for the older ones because many older patients have other common illness such as high/low blood pressure and diabetes.

Antiperspirants & Deodorants lead to Breast Cancer

bustthemyth-deodorantThe concept of using frequent deodorants might become the reason but no studies so far have found any evidence regarding this myth that involves any antiperspirants chemicals to be harmful.

Herbal Products Help to Cure Cancer

Herbs with alternative medicine herbal supplements and pills

The most common myth that confuse many cancer patients that any other alternative treatment like herbal products and therapies can cure cancer. But the fact is that there is no herbal product that has shown any effective result for treating cancer. The patient should always consult the concerned doctor before adopting any kind of treatment.

Reference Links:

  1. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/what-is-cancer.html
  2. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer

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