Myth: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy and developed countries
Fact: Anyone can get cancer, no matter who you are or where you live.
Myth: Only old people get cancer
Fact: You can get cancer at any age. The youngest girl in South Africa reported with breast cancer was 6 years old.
Myth: Cancer is a death sentence
Fact: If detected early, the cancer can be cured.
Myth: Cancer is my fate
Fact: Cancer is a disease that can affect everyone.
Myth: We must not talk about cancer
Fact: We must talk about cancer and by talking about it, you are making other people aware of it.
Myth: There is nothing I can do about cancer
Fact: With the right treatment cancer can be cured.
Myth: I don’t have the right to cancer care
Fact: Everyone, not matter who you are or where you live, has the right to any medical care
Myth: Cancer is a disease you get from upsetting your ancestors
Fact: Our lifestyle can contribute to us getting cancer, eg smoking, drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise, family history, etc..
Myth: Cancer is always painful
Fact: Most cancerous lumps / tumours present themselves as painless
Myth: All tumours are cancerous
Fact: Not necessarily, it’s good to check out every lump or tumour to see if it is cancerous or not.
Myth: If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will probably die
Fact: If untreated, there is a possibility it could be fatal, but if caught in time and treated, you can live a long life.
Myth: You can catch cancer from other people
Fact: Cancer is not contagious. People with cancer in the family will have a higher chance of getting cancer than with those with no cancer in the family.
Myth: Pesticides cause cancer
Fact: What we do know is, there are clear links between many industrial chemicals and some cancers. So if you work with these chemicals, wear protective gear.
Myth: Regularly eating burnt meat cooked on a braai won´t increase your risk for cancer.
Fact: Eating burnt meat regularly can increase your risk for cancer.
Myth: Drinking alcohol may make you more likely to get mouth, liver, colon, breast, and other cancers. It doesn’t matter if you prefer beer, wine, or liquor.
Fact: It’s how much you drink that counts. The more you drink, the higher the risk.
Myth: For most cancers, a biopsy can cause cancer cells to spread
Fact: A biopsy can detect cancer and even the stages of the cancer.
Myth: What can you do to lower your chances of getting cancer?
Exercise, along with healthy eating and managing your weight, can make you less likely to get
certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer.
Fact: There are other contributing factors that can increase your risk of getting cancer, such as stress, family history, previous cancers, etc…
Myth: Do cell phones cause cancer?
Fact: No, not according to the best studies completed so far. Cancer is caused by genetic mutations, and cell phones emit a type of low-frequency energy that does not damage genes.
Myth: Testicular cancer will end your sex life
Fact: Once cured from the disease you can have a normal sex live.
Myth: Masturbation causes testicular or prostate cancer.
Fact: It actually reduces the risk of testicular and prostate cancer.
Myth: Tight underpants cause testicular cancer.
Fact: It only causes discomfort.
Myth: Women have prostates but they don´t cause as much trouble.
Fact: A survey found that over 50% of men believe women have prostates. But it´s FALSE, which is great news, otherwise more people might have to get up in the middle of the night for a pee!
Myth: Prostate cancer is an old man’s disease.
Fact: While it may be true that the older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the fact remains that 35% of those diagnosed, or more than 76 000 each year, are diagnosed at an earlier age.
Myth: Vasectomies cause prostate cancer
Fact: Having a vasectomy was once thought to increase a man’s risk. This issue has since been carefully researched by epidemiologists. Vasectomy has not been linked to increasing a man’s chance of getting prostate cancer but has led to the prostate being checked by the urologist MORE OFTEN, and prostate cancer consequently being detected in the clinic.
Myth: A high PSA score means you have prostate cancer
Fact: Not necessarily. Your PSA could be high due to an enlarged prostate or inflammation in your prostate.
Myth: Surgery causes testicular cancer to spread.
Fact: Surgery is usually done to prevent cancer from spreading.
Myth: Testicular cancer will end your sex life
Fact: In the majority of testicular cancer cases, only one testicle is removed. The man will not notice any changes to his sex drive or ability to have children. With the removal of both testicles, however, a man does become sterile and is much more likely to lose interest in sex. Hormonal injections may at least take care of issues with sex drive.
Myth: An undescended testicle will become cancerous.
Fact: In patients with undescended testicles, the risk of developing this disease is almost 40 – 100 times greater than the general population; however, since the disorder is so rare, the lifetime risk of developing testicular cancer for individuals with undescended testicles is still only about 2%
Myth: Cervical Cancer cannot be prevented.
Fact: Infection with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an absolute requirement for Cervical cancer to develop. We now have the newly available vaccine which is preventing HPV infection dramatically, where it reduces a woman’s risk. Screening with Pap smears and tests for HPV detect pre-cancerous conditions so patients are treated early.
Myth: I’m too young to worry about Cervical Cancer.
Fact: the average age of cervical cancer patients is 48. While it’s not common, women can be diagnosed in their 20’s.
Myth: Cervical cancer has no symptoms
Fact: Bleeding after intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods or bleeding after menopause may indicate cervical cancer. Other symptoms include an abnormal discharge or pain in the pelvic region.
Myth: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer
Fact: Signs and symptoms for breast cancer:
– A hard, rough lump in the breast or armpit
– Swelling of the glands in the armpit
– Changes in the skin of the breast eg, any new dimpling, indentation or orange peel looking on the skin of the breast
– Changes in the size of the breast eg, one breast becoming lower than the other, nipples are at different levels
– Changes in the nipples of the breast eg Nipple retraction (ie) where the nipple turns inward
– Nipple discharge (other than breast milk) ie green and yellow is an infection, redish is a positive sign of cancer or it can be due to injury.
Myth: Breast cancer is caused by carrying money in your bra, so only women get it
Fact: Using your as a pocket causes pain and discomfort. Men do also get breast cancer. It is 1% of our population.
Myth: Children don’t get cancer
Fact: In Canada a 2 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer and by the time she was 3 years old her breast was removed. In South Africa our youngest survivor was 6 years old by the time she was 8 & 9years old she had a double mastectomy
Myth: MRI is better than mammogram because it finds more cancer
Fact: A mammogram is specifically used to detect breast , and an MRI scan is used to detect the spread of cancer into the lymph.
Myth: Mammograms prevent breast cancer
Fact: Mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer, it merely detects if you have it.
Myth: Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease
Fact: People with cancer in their family will have a higher risk of getting cancer but you can get cancer even if there is no family history of cancer.
Myth: Men don’t get breast cancer
Fact: Men can get breast cancer. Reason being men also have a armpit, nipples and breast tissue and muscles.
Myth: Everyone’s breast cancer is the same
Fact: No one is the same. It can appear in different spots and be different sizes. Some have spread and in the later stages, while some are still in the early stages.
Myth: In terms of survival, removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation
Fact: It all depends on the size of the breast, the size of the tumour and how far the cancer has spread.
Myth: There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer
Fact: There are drugs to deduce the size of the tumour.
Myth: Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s very important to make treatment decisions immediately
Fact: You are entitled to a second opinion.
Myth: With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer
Fact: There is no cure for breast cancer.
Myth: If I am not a scientist, then I won’t be able to understand breast cancer research
Fact: Breast cancer is being researched throughout the world , and is explained in detail on cancer research websites for all to understand.
Myth: Do antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?
No. The best studies so far have found no evidence linking the chemicals typically found
in antiperspirants and deodorants with changes in breast tissue.
Fact: Antiperspirants and deodorants do not cause breast cancer, they in fact can cause abscesses in the armpit.
Myth: Ovarian cancer is detected through a pap smear
Fact: pap smears are actually designed to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer. You need to have a pelvic exam to check for growths or masses on the ovaries.
Myth: Women who’ve had a hysterectomy can’t get ovarian cancer
Fact: If one, or even both of the ovaries are preserved, ovarian cancer is still possible. During a hysterectomy, a surgeon usually removes the uterus and the cervix. In some instances, a surgeon will also remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. However, even when the ovaries are removed there is a very small chance of developing the disease.
Myth: Sexual activity affects chance of developing ovarian cancer
Fact: The spread of the HPV virus, which can cause cervical cancer and is linked to sexual activity is not connected with ovarian cancer in any way.
When breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it may have been in your body for 6-10 years
Breast cancer mortality rates are declining
We don’t know how to prevent breast cancer
Risk of breast cancer increases with age; 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 years or older
Most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do
The mortality rate from breast cancer is higher for African American women than for Caucasian women
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases your risk of breast cancer
I can make a difference
Monthly breast self-exams save lives
Mammograms can only help and not harm you
All breast cancer research is good because it moves us toward prevention and a cure