The Truth Behind 18 Cancer Myths

He said, she said... so what's true and what's not? Here's what you should believe, according to the expert.

Is your bra killing you? Can you really get cancer from your deodorant or popcorn made in the microwave? We exposes some of the myths and half-truths that are all too often associated with this disease.

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Myth: I have found an unfamiliar lump in my breast – it must be cancer

Associate Professor Christine Clarke, who chairs the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee in Asutralia, says that finding a breast lump is no reason to panic. “The vast majority of lumps — well in excess of 90 per cent — are not cancerous,” she says.

Myth: I’m not in any pain, so I obviously don’t have cancer

Many people delay seeking medical advice when they first notice painless warning signs, because they mistakenly think that pain is an early symptom of cancer. “This is untrue and dangerous,” says Professor Alan Coates, Chief Executive Officer of The Cancer Council Australia. In the early, curable stages most cancers do not cause pain. Later, many cases of cancer, especially those in the advanced stages, can cause some pain.’

Myth: Some types of cancer are catching

It seems amazing, but some cancer patients believe that it is necessary to use separate cutlery and drinking utensils because people around them are convinced that the disease may be contagious. “There are no kinds of cancer that are contagious,” says Professor Coates. “But some infections, such as Helicobacter pylori (H the stomach) or the human papilloma virus (in the cervix), can cause cancer.”


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