10 popular myths about cancer (and why they are false)
Cancer is a disease that is talked about a lot today. Each year about 220,000 new cases are diagnosed only in Spain, according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). Despite being a well-known phenomenon, not everything that is said about cancer is true .
The problem is that much of the information that exists regarding this disease is inaccurate. Through the Internet it is possible to find many websites that talk about the subject and that offer information that is not entirely true. In this article, we are going to deny 10 myths about cancer and we will explain the reasons why they are false.
Myths about cancer
Our body is made up of billions of cells, which come together to form tissues and organs. Cancer occurs when these cells, which fulfill a series of vital functions for our body, become abnormal, that is, they multiply uncontrollably by invading adjacent organs and tissues.
Undoubtedly, cancer has a negative impact on the health of the person who suffers it and, in some cases, it can cause death. Since it is a problem that worries many people, a lot of information circulates that is not true about this condition. Below you can find a list of ten myths about cancer that we are going to deny .
1. It is totally safe to sunbathe before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm
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 that time, do not take extreme precautions. The reality is that there are two types of ultraviolet rays that penetrate the atmosphere: UVB and UVA. The first are higher between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon, however, the UVA are present throughout the day. Therefore, and especially on summer days, it is necessary to protect yourself well, because the sun can cause many skin problems, from spots to cancer .
2. Mammograms cause cancer
Mammography helps save lives, and although there is a myth that it can cause cancer, this statement is not true . Mammograms do not usually last long, around 20 minutes. It does not cause great discomfort, except for the irrational concern that some people may have.
Mammograms are a safe procedure, in which exposure to radiation is tiny. Although it is not 100% safe in its results, one should not worry about this exposure.
3. Cancer is not contagious
Obviously, cancer is not a disease that can be spread, unlike other diseases such as HIV. However, some viruses can cause cancer and can be contagious . One of the best known is the human papilloma virus (HPV).
There are two types of HPV: low risk, which does not cause cancer but warts and recurrent 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 referred to as a modern disease, but cancer has always existed . Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and the South African Center for Excellence in Palaeosciences discovered the oldest evidence of cancer in humans. They were from 1.7 million years ago.
While it is true that the western man's lifestyle (diet, pollution, etc.) can have a great impact on our health, cancer is not something new.
5. Men do not have breast cancer
Surely many think that breast cancer is exclusive for women. Although the number of men suffering from this disease is lower than that of women, men can also suffer . A study that lasted 25 years revealed that breast cancer in men is on the rise.
6. People with dark skin do not suffer from skin cancer
Caucasians are more likely to develop skin cancer, however, people with dark skin may also suffer from it. In fact, the belief that the latter hardly suffer from this type of cancer means that many times it is not diagnosed in time. In other words, This belief can generate dangerous delays in the diagnosis, which can be fatal for the patient .
7. On cloudy days we are protected from skin cancer
Radiation can also affect people even in days with poor solar brightness . Therefore, when doing outdoor activities it is necessary to protect yourself, even on cloudy days. This is especially important at early ages, because according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP), "between 50 and 80% of the damage from sun exposure has its origin in childhood and adolescence."
8Superfoods against cancer
There is a growing tendency to associate food with a series of healthy benefits to increase sales, including those that prevent cancer. This, which can be very useful as a marketing technique, is not true. Cancer is too complex to reduce it to drinking green tea or eating broccoli. Global health and positive habits, such as not smoking or playing sports, can have a positive effect on cancer , but the isolated actions are useless.
9. Chemotherapy is worse than cancer
There is great debate and controversy about the effects of chemotherapy in patients with cancer, and the truth is that it is not a pleasant treatment. But this way of proceeding, despite being very aggressive, becomes necessary to treat many cases of this disease. Although treatment does not always work, it has saved many lives.
10. Mobile phones cause cancer
Much is said today that mobile phones cause cancer. But nevertheless, There is no scientific evidence that this is so, says Jack Jacoub, oncologist at the Medical Center in Fountain Valley (United States) .
An article published in the American newspaper "The New York Times" explains that many studies have been carried out in relation to this topic, 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 of the relationship between the mobile phone and cancer. In fact, despite the increased use of smartphones, the incidence of brain cancer in the United States has remained the same since 1992.
Although the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) include the radiation of cell phones as a carcinogenic factor, this organism qualifies it at the same level as coffee or canned vegetables.