World Cancer Day: Debunking The Cancer Myths

mythsToday is World Cancer Day, a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease.  The focus of this year’s campaign is on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration: Reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer, under the tagline “Debunk the myths”.

I am guessing that many of you reading this already know how to separate the myths from reality, but just in case someone is new to this, let’s get some of the most persistent myths banished once and for all.

  • Deodorant does not cause breast cancer, nor does wearing an underwire bra.
  • Most breast cancer is not hereditary – actually, only 5- 10% of breast cancer is due to a family history of the disease.
  • A lump in my breast means I have cancer – not necessarily; breast tissue is changing all the time because of varying hormone levels, especially during menstruation or breastfeeding.  Lumps can be benign growths of tissue, but if you do feel a lump in your breast, you should always have it checked out straight away to be on the safe side.
  • Stress causes cancer. 
    While it is true that stress impacts your health, cancer is a complex disease and the  scientific evidence that stress causes cancer is not conclusive. However,  this is not the final word on this subject, and subsequent research may prove otherwise.Whatever we believe about the connection between stress and cancer, there is no denying that stress can cause other health problems that negatively impact our lives.

What other common misconceptions and myths about cancer have you come across?