Cancer is a disease where abnormal body cells grow uncontrollably and possibly spread to other parts of the body. In the millions of cells that make up the human body, cancer can develop practically anywhere. Statistically around one in four people will be diagnosed with cancer in Singapore at some point in our lives. Many of us will experience having a loved one or friend getting cancer. There is no shortage of misinformation when it comes to cancer. In this article, we will explore three common cancer myths and misconceptions.
Myth#1: You Can Get Cancer From Other People
Generally, you cannot simply get “infected” with cancer from another person. Cancer is not an infectious illness that spreads from one person to another. In situations whereby an organ or piece of tissue is transplanted from one person to another, the recipients do face an increased risk of developing cancer. This is especially if the organ or tissue is from a donor who had cancer in the past. However, there are only approximately two occurrences of cancer per 10,000 organ transplants, thus this risk is incredibly low. Doctors avoid the use of organs or tissue from donors who have a history of malignancy.
Some cancers may be caused by certain viruses (e.g. human papillomavirus and cervical cancer) and bacteria. While these viruses or bacterium may indeed spread from a person to another, the cancers that they may cause do not spread this way.
Myth#2: Your Mood Can Affect Your Chances Of Surviving Cancer
There is currently no strong scientific evidence to support a direct connection between a person’s mood and their chance of having cancer or passing away from it. It’s common to experience a range of emotional responses during cancer, including negative ones such as sadness, irritation, or discouragement. Positive attitudes however, may increase one’s likelihood of maintaining friendships and staying active, and both physical activity and emotional support may be beneficial in assisting one in coping with cancer. Staying positive also improves the patient’s quality of life. Thus, despite the lack of strong evidence of any direct link between a patient’s mood and the chances of successful cancer treatment, it is nonetheless important to maintain as positive an outlook as possible.
Myth#3: Too Much Sugar Can Cause Cancer
The final of the common cancer myths and misconceptions we will examine here, is that too much sugar can cause cancer, or cause cancer to worsen. This is actually not true. Although studies have found that cancer cells use more glucose than healthy cells do, there is no indication that consuming sugar will make your cancer worse or that it would reduce or go away if you stop reduce sugar consumption.
There are different forms of sugar, the simplest of which are found as single molecules. These include glucose and fructose. The table sugar that we are familiar with is called sucrose. It is made up of both glucose and fructose. Sugar is in most things we eat.
Healthy cells need glucose to function properly. There is no way currently of preventing cancer cells from receiving glucose while still allowing access for the healthy cells. If we try to starve the body of glucose by going on a severely restricted diet with very low amounts of carbohydrates, we will also end up depriving our bodies of vital nutrients. This resulting poor nutrition can instead end up adversely impacting the patient’s ability to recover from the cancer.
Further Reading On Cancer
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.