Myths About Cancer and Cancer Treatment Can Potentially Cause More Harm
Guest post from Dr. Shyamali Singhal, MD
Founder of Hope & Beauty
Short List Of Most Popular Cancer Myths
When it comes to cancer, there are many myths out there. Those myths often lead to even more stress for patients than they were already going through. Understanding the diagnosis is an essential part of moving forward. We at H&B believe it’s very important to fight off the misinformation and misconceptions related to cancer. For many patients and caregivers, cancer remains a mystery. What is causing it, and why is it so hard to stop and cure? For many, the search for answers may lead to facts that help them make confident decisions on treatments and care. For others, research may lead to assumptions, misconceptions, and myths. To help resolve some of the confusion, and breakthrough some of the misconceptions about cancer and cancer treatment, we at H&B have assembled this short list of the most common cancer myths.
Solid tumors don’t require surgery
Even if other forms of treatment are used to shrink solid tumors or lower the chances of cancer returning, surgery can be used to eliminate them.
Skin cancer doesn’t see color
Those with fair skin have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than those who don’t. Also, those with blond or red hair, green or blue eyes, or easily-burnt or freckled skin, are at a higher risk as well.
Chemotherapy always comes with side effects
While awful side effects were frequent when chemotherapy was first introduced, medical progress in recent decades has helped to reduce the risk of harmful effects.
A lump in your breast must be a sign of breast cancer
Finding a lump in your breast does not mean that you have breast cancer. But it should be checked by your doctor.
Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored.
Chemotherapy is always painful
Some patients fear their chemotherapy treatments will hurt them, but Dr. Shyamali Singhal, surgical oncologist and founder of H&B, offers some reassurance on this. She said that although side-effects may result from chemotherapy, the actual infusion process or oral form of chemotherapy is not necessarily painful.
Getting a biopsy can make cancer spread even quicker
There is no evidence that doing a biopsy or removing cancer will make it spread, said Dr. Singhal.
When a tumor needs to be removed or tested, the process will not cause cancer to grow. However, having it removed or tested is an important part of the treatment process.
Eating sugar helps cancer grow
Eating a cookie or a piece of cake will not speed up your cancer.
Although research has shown that cancer cells utilize more sugar than normal cells, no studies have shown that eating sugar will make your cancer more serious or that if you stop eating sugar, your cancer will withdraw or disappear.
Having cancer doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the little surprises you enjoy.
Pregnant women can’t get cancer treatment
Pregnant women who have symptoms or concerns about cancer should see their doctor right away, because getting early medical care may mean better outcomes for both mother and baby.
Women who are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant may still have options available to them.
Hair will never grow back after chemotherapy
While the image of a chemotherapy patient commonly involves someone with no hair, that isn’t often a long-lasting state.
Ninety-nine percent of the time it grows back whenever we finish or complete the course of chemotherapy, Dr. Singhal says. Rarely, hair loss can be permanent, but that is the exception and the unusual thing.
If you have questions about your cancer diagnosis or treatment, ask an expert oncologist, who can clear up misconceptions and help decide the right plan for you.
Can Coffee Increase The Risk Of Cancer?
For many, the only way to start the day is with a hot cup of coffee. Whether you like it black or with cream and sugar, Americans are sipping more coffee than ever. A survey published in March showed 64 percent of adult Americans drink at least one cup of coffee per day. A cup of home-brewed coffee may have at least 95 mg of caffeine. For those who may seek a more potent morning start, a 20-ounce take-out from a popular coffee house franchise can have upwards of 475 mg of caffeine.
Coffee and cancer have had a rocky relationship over the years. Coffee was once recklessly touted as a cancer treatment and later stated a carcinogen. Today, new studies show it may help stop certain types of cancer. And lately, a California judge provoked controversy by ruling that a health warning should be attached to coffee sold in that state.
Coffee Can Lower The Risk Of Cancer
There is no clear evidence connecting coffee consumption and heightened risk of cancer, says Dr. Singhal. The World Health Organization (WHO) excluded coffee from its list of carcinogens in 2016. WHO added coffee to its list of risk factors more than 25 years ago, but reversed direction after more recent studies found no proof that coffee raised cancer risk. A study showed that taking two cups of coffee a day may lower the risk for certain cancer types, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and head and neck cancers. There are probably several factors that may add to the diminished risk. The bottom line is there’s no definite evidence that coffee can cause or help stop cancer.