10 popular cancer myths (and why they’re wrong)

Cancer is a disease that is talked about a lot today. Each year, around 220,000 new cases are diagnosed in Spain alone, according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). Although this is a well-known phenomenon, not everything that is said about cancer is true.

The problem is that most of the information available on this disease is inaccurate. On the Internet, it is possible to find many websites that talk about the subject and offer information that is not entirely true. In this article, we’ll dispel 10 cancer myths and explain the reasons why they’re wrong.

Cancer myths

Our body is made up of billions of cells, which come together to form tissues and organs. Cancer occurs when these cells, which perform a number of vital functions for our body, become abnormal – that is, they multiply uncontrollably, invading adjacent organs and tissues.

Without a doubt, cancer has a negative impact on the health of the sufferer and in some cases can lead to death. Since this is a problem that worries many people, there is a lot of information going around that is not true about this condition. Here is a list of ten cancer myths that we will debunk.

1. It is quite safe to sunbathe before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

It is common to hear that it is safe to sunbathe before ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. So many people, at these times, do not take extreme precautions. The reality is that there are two types of ultraviolet rays that enter the atmosphere: UVB and UVA. The former are highest between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon, however, UVA rays are present throughout the day. Therefore, and especially on summer days, you need to protect yourself well, as the sun can cause many skin problems, from blemishes to cancer.

2. Mammograms cause cancer

Mammography helps save lives, and while there is a myth that it can cause cancer, that claim is not true.. Mammograms usually don’t last long, around 20 minutes. It doesn’t cause much discomfort except for the irrational worry that some people may have.

Mammograms are a safe procedure in which radiation exposure is reduced. Although its results are not 100% certain, there is no need to worry about this exposure.

3. Cancer is not contagious

Obviously, cancer is not a contagious disease, unlike other diseases like HIV. However, some viruses can cause cancer and can be contagious.. One of the best known is the human papillomavirus (HPV).

There are two types of HPV: low risk HPV, which does not cause cancer but recurrent warts and respiratory papillomatosis; and those at high risk, which can cause cancer. HPVs are very common sexually transmitted diseases.

4. Cancer is a modern disease

Cancer is often called a modern disease, but cancer has always existed. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and the South African Center of Excellence in Paleoscience discovered the first evidence of cancer in humans. They were 1.7 million years ago.

While it is true that the lifestyle of Western man (diet, pollution, etc.) can have a huge impact on our health, cancer is nothing new.

5. Men don’t have breast cancer

Many believe that breast cancer is only for women. Although the number of men suffering from this disease is lower than that of women, men can also suffer. A study that spanned 25 years found that breast cancer in men is on the increase.

6. People with dark skin do not get skin cancer

Caucasian people are more likely to develop skin cancer, but people with dark skin can suffer from it as well. Indeed, the belief that they hardly suffer from this type of cancer means that it is often not diagnosed in time. In other words, this belief can lead to dangerous delays in diagnosis, which can be fatal for the patient.

7. In cloudy weather we are protected from skin cancer

Radiation can also affect people even in daylight with little sunlight.. Therefore, when carrying out outdoor activities, it is necessary to protect yourself even in cloudy weather. This is especially important at an early age, because according to the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP), “between 50 and 80% of damage caused by sun exposure has its origin in childhood and adolescence”.

8. Superfoods against cancer

There is a growing trend to associate foods with a number of health benefits to increase their sales, including those that prevent cancer. This, which can be very useful as a marketing technique, is not true. Cancer is too complex to boil down to drinking green tea or eating broccoli. Overall health and positive habits, such as not smoking or playing sports, can have a positive effect on cancerBut asylum actions are pointless.

9. Chemotherapy is worse than cancer

There is a lot of debate and controversy about the effects of chemotherapy on cancer patients, and the truth is, it’s not a pleasant treatment. But this way of proceeding, although very aggressive, becomes necessary to treat many cases of this disease. Although the treatment does not always work, it has saved many lives.

10. Cell phones cause cancer

There is a lot of talk these days that cell phones cause cancer. However, there is no scientific evidence that this is the case, says Jack Jacoub, an oncologist at Fountain Valley Medical Center in the United States..

An article published in the American newspaper “The New York Times” explains that many studies have been carried out on this subject, such as the Million Women Study and another Danish study with more than 350,000 mobile phone users. The conclusions are clear: there is no scientific evidence for the relationship between cellphones and cancer. In fact, despite the increasing use of smartphones, the incidence of brain cancer in the United States has remained the same since 1992.

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations include cell phone radiation as a carcinogen, this body classifies it on the same level as coffee or canned vegetables.

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