As you may know by now, cancer is not always a death sentence. Due to the complexity and uncertainty of it all, we have a lot of fear and those fears are often exacerbated by erroneous information. When it comes to “The Big C”, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. Today, I have identified and broken down 6 common myths about cancer.
Myth # 1: Using artificial sweeteners causes cancer?
This is false and numerous studies have found no evidence that: Sweet ‘N Low; Equal, NutraSweet; Sweet One and Splenda causes cancer in humans. All of these sugar substitutes, except for Equal, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for consumption in the United States. So, the next time you want to reach for Sweet ‘N Low or Splenda to sweeten your coffee and tea, you can do so with ease. I, however, have never been a fan of the artificial sweeteners. I’m an addict and crave the real thing. In the words of Chris Rock aka Pookie from the movie, New Jack City “It keeps calling me.” No worries, I’m getting help for it(LOL).
Myth # 2: Having a positive outlook will reduce my chances of acquiring cancer and/or cure cancer.
There is some truth to this, but it isn’t a simple true or false question. A 2014 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology considered the incidence of cancer in women measuring stress levels for five years prior to diagnosis and found no definite proof between stress level and the diagnosis of cancer. Therefore, it is inconclusive whether stress directly leads to an increased chance of developing cancer. However, there have been other studies demonstrating a correlation between lowered stress levels and improvement in cancer patients. Having a positive outlook before and during your cancer treatments can enhance your push to remain active with loved ones, support groups, and continue with social activities- all of which are important factors in recovery.
Myth # 3: Routine checkups will lead to early detection of cancer?
It is true that regular checkups with your primary physician is a great way to note early cancer diagnoses. However, there’s no guarantee. Cancer is a complex disease, and there’s no sure way to always spot it. Routine screening has been linked to a decrease in deaths from cancers of the cervix, breast, colon and rectum. Recently, I reviewed a case where a patient was diagnosed with lung cancer, incidentally. The patient fell and broke his shoulder bone and needed imaging done for additional treatment. Through this imaging, a mass was seen and the patient was diagnosed with lung cancer. Prior to his fall, he had no complaints of symptoms relating to his cancer such as: chest pains, abnormal coughs with blood, or shortness of breath. He didn’t have a history of smoking. A routine check-up, with a primary care physician, would not have likely detected lung cancer in an asymptomatic patient. Treatment for the accidental fall, on the other hand, definitely played a major part in early detection.
Myth #4: Using my cell phone will cause cancer?
No, no, and no! Cancer is caused by genetic mutations. While cell phones do generate a type of low-frequency energy, there is no evidence that they damage genes. If cell phones really caused cancer, there would be some widely known invention in the marketplace being peddled to consumers that alleges to makes cell phone use safer (other than Bluetooth and headphones). The timeless ear-to-phone method of taking a call would not only be considered old-fashioned, but it would be obsolete.
Myth # 5: Cancer is caused by family genetics?
Cancer is caused by mutations in genes and about 10 percent of those cancers are inherited from your parents. The remaining percentage of cancers are caused by genetic changes that occur throughout a person’s lifetime as a NATURAL result of aging and exposure to environmental factors, such as tobacco smoke and radiation. The types of food you consume and your activity level may also influence your risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
Myth # 6: Dyeing your hair increases you risk of cancer?
There is no evidence that links personal hair dye use to increased risks of cancer, but hairstylist beware! Some studies suggest that hairdressers and barbers who are regularly exposed to large quantities of hair dye and other chemical products may have an increased risk of bladder cancer. This is actually news to me, and I feel compelled to share this information with my hairstylist, pronto! Who will you share this information with?
There is a lot of bad information lurking around about cancer. Now that you have the facts, I hope some of your worries are eliminated and that you will take an opportunity to learn more about cancer.
To find more information on topics mentioned above, please visit links provided below.
National Cancer Institute; www.cancer.gov
Gago-Dominguez M, Castelao JE, Yuan JM, Yu MC, Ross RK. Use of permanent hair dyes and bladder-cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer 2001; 91(4):575–579