Cancer is more than some zodiac sign you used to predict your luck by using your birthday. It’s a complicated disease where your own cells malfunction to the point where death is sometimes imminent. Still, there is much unknown about the disease to the general public and myths circulate that may offer dangerous advice or terrify you even more. Addressing the most popular fallacies may put your mind at ease or allow you the information to have a more educated stance.
Cancer versus benign fiction
You die soon after diagnosis: This is blatantly not true. Since the 1990s, fatality rates have dropped. In some cancers, five year survival rates are over 90 percent. Even including all types of cancer, the value is still 67. There are many influencing components, sometimes it attacks aggressively, others fall into remission and you can live out the rest of your days free.
Sugar feeds cancer cells: You may have heard scientific results that cancer cells eat more sugar than healthy cells. These results lead to horrifying news headlines insinuating that your sugary sweets would fuel it. This misconception has been debunked as no link has been established. Of course, being overweight may put you at risk of developing cancers, so try not to overdo it on the cakes and candies.
Artificial sweeteners are triggering: To continue the theme, no, a sweetener like Equal, NutraSweet, Splenda, Sunett, and NectaSweet cannot cause cancer. Neither can generic alternatives containing sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin, or cyclamate. Of course, they aren’t exactly a superfood but continue adding it to your coffee if you want guilt free.
Do I need chemotherapy?
Many feel reluctant to sign up for chemo and it’s easy to see why. It is not the only form of therapy, and other methods may be used instead. This is something to talk to your physician about as they will have the best recommendation. Even if you’re scared, their expert opinion should have high weight as they’re trained to deal with this. Note that some options are not available for everyone and there is no evidence in support of an herbal alternative.
I will go bald: Hair loss is typically a response to the treatment rather than the disease itself. Radiation and chemicals used to target the rapidly dividing cells. Cancer cells are not the only one, and as a result, hair cells are damaged during treatments.
What risk factors increase the chances of developing cancer
We still have a lot to learn about cancer and the underlying causes. Researchers have established strong connections between factors which can show different lifestyles or traits that increase the chance of diagnosis at one point in life.
- Smoking tobacco
- Exposure to substances like mercury or uranium
- Overexposure to radioactivity (including sunlight)
- Being overweight
- Poor diet
- Family history
Just because the above describes you does not mean you’ll develop cancer for sure. The same conversely where you can lead a perfect life and carry no risk factors and still develop it.
What are the most prevalent cancers?
According to the National Cancer Institute, the most frequently diagnosed cancers in the United States (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) are cancers of the:
- Colon and rectum
- And thyroid
Endometrial cancer, leukemia, Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, and melanoma also made the list. Differences in age, gender, ethnicity, and severity exist between and within cancer types.
How accurate are cancer detecting blood tests?
Early detection is the best way to stop cancer its path. Certain tests exist that help doctors determine whether their patient has cancer, even before symptoms appear. It’s optimal to start treating cancer before the massive growths appear and dysfunction occur. Several different screening tests are available to detect different cancers.
This can be done with a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, low dose helical computed tomography, mammogram, pop test, and alpha-fetoprotein blood test to name a few. Experimental tests that are noninvasive including breath and dog sniffing options are facing clinical trials before they are open to the public.
These tests are relatively accurate and reliable. While false positives and negatives can occur, follow up test to reduce the chance of error are a common practice. The downside is that they sometimes lead to overdiagnosis, where people have a cancer scare that is stressful, unnecessary and puts them through the strain of further, more invasive tests. The second problem is that a minor case of cancer develops that is so slow acting, it would have never had the chance to bother the person in their lifetime. In these cases where the aggressive treatment is pursued, patients experience the negative effects from harsh methods for nothing (overtreatment). Underdiagnosis is also a problem, but most times if cancer is suspect, more than one test will be performed and one test returning negative won’t change the overall diagnosis given.
The dangers of the following bloggers who cured cancer
There is a hype going around where people switch pharmaceutical options for homeopathic treatments. You may have heard of the woman who claimed to cure cancer with urine or someone cutting out some random food or incorporating something exotic into their diet. There are no known cures for cancer, and following these people instead of seeking proper treatment can be deadly. Many of these famous people end up fraud charges.
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