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Canadian cancer reference centre does its work without fanfare.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Cancer Fact or Fiction: Separating Myths from Good Information Posted April 2012 Cancer Fact or Fiction: Separating Myths from Good Information By the National Cancer Institute To many, cancer remains one of the most frightening diagnoses in modern medicine. But much of this fear is a result of myths that have circulated for years in spite of the good information that is available. Indeed, many of cancer’s mysteries have been solved, and a great deal of success has been achieved in curing patients and helping them live longer and better lives. In spite of advances in cancer treatment and prognosis, many continue to believe in myths surrounding cancer. In particular, studies have shown that African Americans are more likely than whites to maintain some erroneous beliefs about cancer. It is important to separate fact from fiction. Some of the most common cancer myths not only cultivate false ideas and fears but can interfere with how people think and behave when facing cancer in themselves or in a loved one. It is important that the health messengers within the family and community have the most accurate information about cancer. In many African American families, that is often the woman running the household. It is good for these health messengers and the people who listen to them to at least be aware of some of the most common cancer myths so that misinformation doesn’t stand in the way of getting counsel from a medical professional. What Will Happen to Me If I Get Cancer? Myth––Cancer is a death sentence. The fact is that more than 12 million cancer survivors are living in the United States. Thanks to improved treatments and earlier diagnosis of some cancers, more than 3 of every 5 cancer patients are alive 5 years after their diagnosis. For children, the 5-year survival rate is 4 in 5. Who Gets Cancer and Why Myth––Cancer is contagious. You cannot catch cancer from someone who has it. What can spread among people are microorganism

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