Myths about cancer

Myth Busters


Myth 1: Cancer is just a health issue.

Truth: Cancer is not just a health issue. It has wide-reaching social, economic, development, and human rights implications.


Myth 2: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries.

Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic. It affects all ages and socio-economic groups, with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden.


Myth 3: Cancer is a death sentence.

Truth: Many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people, their cancer can be treated effectively.


Myth 4: Cancer is my fate.

Truth: With the right strategies, a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.


Myth 5: Cancer is contagious.

Truth: In general, no. Cancer is not a contagious disease that easily spreads from person to person. The only situation in which cancer can spread from one person to another is in the case of organ or tissue transplantation. A person who receives an organ or tissue from a donor who had cancer in the past may be at increased risk of developing a transplant-related cancer in the future. However, that risk is extremely low—about two cases of cancer per 10,000 organ transplants.


Myth 6: Herbal medicines cure cancer.

Truth: No, herbal treatment will not cure cancer but according to the National Cancer Institute, some complementary treatment that includes herbs help with the side effects of chemotherapy radiation. Although there are some benefits, it is not recommended since there are higher chances of the medicine interfering with the chemotherapy.


Myth 7: Cancer is hereditary.

Truth: 90 to 95 percent of cancer is caused by the changes in the genes due to exposure to the environment and the use of carcinogens such as tobacco smoke and radiations. Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are caused by harmful mutations that are inherited from a person’s parent such as breast, ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancer.