World Cancer Day: Myths Debunked!

World Cancer Day: Myths Debunked!
World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day 2021 is observed to spread awareness, inspire change and reduce the global impact of cancer. On World Cancer Day, everyone comes together with an agenda to achieve a healthier and brighter world free of cancer.

The theme for World Cancer Day 2021 is 'I Am and I Will.' It is a multi-year campaign that began in 2019 and this year will mark the last year. It represents an empowering call-to-action urging personal commitment, and also represents the power of action taken now to have a positive impact on the future. It focuses on 'together, all our actions matter.'

The aim to observe World Cancer Day is to reduce misconceptions about cancer and to help people in getting the right information about it. It also offers a chance to make an impact in the betterment of the life of cancer patients and survivors. 

Here are some of the myths and misconceptions about cancer:

Myth #1: Cancer can spread from person-to-person

Fact: It is a fact that cancer is caused owing to the changes taking place in the cellular DNA. While some of the most common diseases are caused due to viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms. You will also be shocked to know that these changes can randomly occur and in many people, these mutated cells get destroyed due to the death mechanisms. Moreover, if these mechanisms fail, then one may get cancer. Yes, it is no brainer that cancer can spread in your body but it CANNOT be transmitted from person-to-person. 

Myth #2: Sugar can worsen your cancer

Fact: Yes, it is essential to limit one’s sugar consumption but it is not at all true that sugar can exacerbate your cancer. Eating a piece of a small cake or a cookie will not do any harm. But, going over board is a strict no. People with cancer will have to speak to an expert who will advise them about what to eat and delete from the diet. But, eating only sugar cannot be related to the worsening of cancer. Furthermore, there is no evidence that shows that eating sugar will increase one's cancer or if one cuts down the sugar intake then cancer disappears.

Myth #3: Only people with family history of cancer get cancer

Fact: You may get cancer owing to the changes in your DNA. Thus, if you have a family history of cancer then you might be at an increasing risk of suffering from it. But, this doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a family history of cancer then you will not get it at all. It is not at all true! Other factors like smoking, drinking, obesity and poor eating habits can also invite cancer. 

Myth #4: Cancer is painful

Fact: Cancer is painless and asymptomatic in its initial stages. It is usually associated with pain in advanced stages. Hence early detection is the key to cure. Some of the common cancers in India are oral cancers and breast cancers. Oral cancer is present with a painless ulcer in the tongue or cheek with slight bleeding on touch. It is common in tobacco chewers and smokers. Hence only person consuming tobacco in any form and having painless ulcer in the mouth should see a cancer surgeon immediately. Breast cancer usually presents as a painless lump in the breast in a lady above 36 years. Hence any lump should be immediately shown to a cancer surgeon for proper diagnosis and management.

Myth #5: Cancer patients cannot work

Fact: Cancer patient, if healthy, can work. Working is not a hurdle to developing or accelerating cancer.

Myth #6: Ignorance is bliss

Fact: This myth needs to be busted. If in doubt about any symptom a person should immediately visit a doctor/cancer specialist. Early detection leads to reduced problems and better cure. Also, regular exercise, eating healthy food, drinking alcohol in the limit, avoiding tobacco completely, reducing obesity and stress lessens chances of cancer. A positive attitude reduces the chances of lifestyle associated with cancers.


-Riya Singh