Myths – Cancer

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We set-up this page to keep track of any popular “Myths” and/or “Facts” that might be of interest to those Battling Cancer, or are just looking for information about cancer. We hope to keep it up to date by adding sites and “myths” found during our blog postings .. and posting myths from other sites that we visit on our way! Each topic heading below, is the location of where we have found the following myths from, and we hope that it’s okay to repost the information below. If you are the owner of the following websites and wish to contact us about this, please do so .. and email our webmaster … hart (at) PetLvr (dot) com

Canadian Cancer Society – Cancer Myths

Myth: There are Many Cancer Myths Out There

Fact: Cancer myths

The Canadian Cancer Society understands that Canadians are concerned about cancer, but recommends that you be cautious of any information or claims obtained from unmonitored sources, in particular the Internet. The Internet can be an empowering source of information, but a healthcare professional should be consulted before making medical decisions.

For common myths about the following, it is suggested that you read the pages directly on the Canadian Cancer Society website.

Antiperspirants and breast cancer
Abortion and breast cancer
Bras and breast cancer
Tampons and cancer
Oysters and soy sauce
Food additives
Microwaves and plastic containers

Mayo Clinic – Debunking the Myths

Myth: A positive attitude is all you need to beat cancer.

Fact: Although many popular books on cancer talk about fighters and optimists, there’s no scientific proof that a positive attitude gives you an advantage in cancer treatment or improves your chance of being cured.

What a positive attitude can do is improve the quality of your life during cancer treatment and beyond. You may be more likely to stay active, maintain ties to family and friends, and continue social activities. In turn, this may enhance your feeling of well-being and help you find the strength to deal with your cancer. A positive attitude may also help you become a more informed and active partner with your doctor during cancer treatment.

Myth: If we can put a man on the moon, we should have a cure for cancer by now.

Fact: Cancer actually includes a large group of diseases. Each can be caused by many different factors. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, doctors still have much to learn about what triggers a cell to become cancerous and why some people with cancer do better than others.

In addition, cancer is a moving target. Cancer cells may continue to mutate and change during the course of the disease. This may lead to the cancer cells no longer responding to the chemotherapy drugs or radiation treatments that were given initially.

Finding the cure for cancer is, in fact, proving to be more complex than mastering the engineering and physics required for space flight.

Myth: Drug companies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are blocking or withholding new cancer treatments.

Fact: Going through cancer treatment is never easy. Even when things are going well, it’s natural to become frustrated and wish for a magic bullet to cure your cancer. You might even wonder if such a treatment is being withheld.

That’s not the case. Your doctor and the FDA, which must approve new drugs before they can be marketed, are your allies. As such, they make your safety a high priority. Unfortunately, scientific studies to determine cancer treatment’s safety and effectiveness take time. That may create the appearance or lead to reports that effective new treatments are being blocked. However, the thorough testing required has kept many unsafe and ineffective drugs from being used in the United States.

Hiding or withholding an important treatment advance would be difficult because the public has many ways to access medical information. In addition to verbal, print, video and electronic means, you may even gain access to information about experimental treatments by participating in a clinical trial.

If you still believe a cure is being purposefully withheld, ask yourself why a doctor may choose to specialize in cancer research. Oftentimes doctors go into cancer research because they have a family member or friend affected by the disease. They’re just as interested in finding a cure as anyone else, for exactly the same reason — it affects them personally. They hate to see a loved one in pain and don’t wish to lose this person. They also want to spare others what they have gone through.

As to suggestions that organizations keep cures a secret because they would otherwise lose their sources of funding, human nature makes this scenario highly unlikely. It is indeed an unusual human being who would pass up the prestige associated with finding a cure in order to keep funds flowing to a research organization.

Myth: Regular checkups and today’s medical technology can detect all cancer early.

Fact: Routine screening has clearly led to an impressive decrease in deaths from several cancers, including cervical, breast and colon cancers. Although regular medical care can indeed increase your ability to detect cancer early, it can’t guarantee it. Cancer is a complicated disease, and there’s no sure way to always spot it. Cancer cells can grow anywhere in your body — often deep within it. Until the cancer reaches a certain size, there isn’t a technology or exam capable of detecting it. By the time you feel a breast cancer lump, for instance, the cancer may have been there for four to six years. Scientists are looking for tests capable of detecting cancers even earlier, but these tests are experimental and have not yet been proved effective.

Myth: Antiperspirants or deodorants can cause breast cancer.

Fact: According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there’s no conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants with breast cancer.

Some reports have suggested that these products contain harmful substances that can be absorbed through the skin or enter the body through nicks caused by shaving. According to the NCI, some scientists have also proposed that certain antiperspirant and deodorant ingredients called parabens may be associated with breast cancer because they’re applied frequently to an area next to the breast.

Two studies of underarm antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results:

* In 2002, a study involving 1,606 women evaluated the possible relationship between breast cancer and underarm antiperspirants and deodorants. This study showed no increased risk of breast cancer in women who used these products.

* A 2004 study found parabens in 18 of 20 tissue samples from breast tumors. Parabens, which act like estrogen in the body, are preservatives used in antiperspirants and deodorants. However, this study didn’t prove that parabens cause breast cancer. Also, the study didn’t identify the source of the parabens. More research is needed to evaluate whether the use of antiperspirants or deodorants causes parabens to accumulate in breast tissue and whether these chemicals increase the risk of breast cancer.

Unlike lung cancer, for instance, where you see a steady rise in cancer rates when the smoking rate increases, there isn’t a clear link between antiperspirants and breast cancer. In the United States today, more than 90 percent of adults regularly use an antiperspirant or deodorant. But the death rates for women due to breast cancer haven’t changed significantly since the 1930s — when, presumably, fewer people used antiperspirants or deodorants on a regular basis. For smoking and lung cancer there is a clear association — women began smoking in larger numbers in the 1940s and lung cancer deaths rose significantly beginning in the 1970s.

Myth: Microwaving plastic containers and wraps releases harmful, cancer-causing substances into food.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stories have circulated for years about the harm from chemicals in plastics leaching into microwaved foods. There is some evidence that substances used to make certain plastics can migrate into some foods. But the FDA has evaluated the migration levels of these substances and has found them to be well within the margin of safety.

The FDA carefully reviews the substances used to make plastics designed for food use, including microwave-safe plastic wraps and containers. These plastics are classified as “food contact substances.” The FDA must find them safe for their intended use before these products can be marketed as such.

Other claims have suggested that plastics contain dioxins, a group of contaminants labeled as a “likely human carcinogen” by the Environmental Protection Agency. But according to the FDA, there is no evidence that plastic containers or wraps contain dioxins.

Myth: Undergoing cancer treatment means you can’t live at home, work or go about your usual activities.

Fact: Most people with cancer are treated on an outpatient basis in their home community. At times it may be helpful to travel to a specialty medical center for treatment. But often, doctors at such a medical center can work with doctors in your hometown so that you can be with your family and friends and perhaps even resume work. In fact, many people do work full or part time during their treatment. A great deal of time and effort has gone into making it easier for people to live a more normal life during their treatment. For example, drugs are now available to help better control nausea. The result is you’re often able to work and stay active during your treatment.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.