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The truth behind four common cancer myths

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 10 Feb 2014

If you Google the word cancer, you will get back a whopping 175,000,000 results. It’s clear to see that there is a lot of talk about cancer, but there are still a huge number of people who don’t know much about cancer and its risks.
On the 4th of February, people from across the globe celebrated World Cancer Day. The campaign aims to improve general knowledge and debunk cancer myths. The Union for International Cancer Control, the founders of World Cancer Day, have focused their messaging around the following four myths:

If you Google the word cancer, you will get back a whopping 175,000,000 results. It’s clear to see that there is a lot of talk about cancer, but there are still a huge number of people who don’t know much about cancer and its risks.

On the 4th of February, people from across the globe celebrated World Cancer Day. The campaign aims to improve general knowledge and debunk cancer myths. The Union for International Cancer Control, the founders of World Cancer Day, have focused their messaging around the following four myths:

1) We don’t need to talk about cancer

Cancer can often become the elephant in the room that no one talks about. Feelings of shock, fear, anger, sadness and anxiety can leave the person with cancer, their friends, family and colleagues overwhelmed. This makes talking about cancer difficult and awkward. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, there are plenty of others on the same journey as you. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or a loved one has, don’t fight it alone.

For more information about support and advice, please visit Macmillan Cancer Support.

2) There are no signs or symptoms of cancer

Many cancers can be detected early such as breast, cervical, skin, oral and colorectal cancers. Catching symptoms early could improve the chances of a better outcome. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for you can use Cancer Research UK’s interactive Cancer Symptom Checker.

3) There is nothing I can do about cancer

There are a few common risk factors related to cancer, such as harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity. By living a healthier lifestyle you may reduce your chances of getting the disease. For a list of useful apps to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you might want to read our article on useful apps to help you stay healthy.

4) I don’t have the right to cancer care

Fortunately, the NHS provides free medical care, including cancer treatment to all UK residents. There are other charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support who also provide support such as nurses and equipment. If you’re an overseas visitor and concerned about cancer care, please visit their website.

Although studies predict that the number of cancer cases will soar to 24 million a year by 2035 [1], it is important to acknowledge that cancer survival rates are going up too. With improved treatment and new scientific discoveries, more and more people are surviving.

Cancer awareness has never been more important – if you would like to do something for World Cancer Day 2015 and support the cause, you can visit their website for more information at World Cancer Day.

Sources
1 BBC News Health (February, 2014), “Cancer ‘tidal wave’ on horizon, warns WHO” [online]. Available from www.bbc.co.uk

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