Brief Overview of Some Common Myths around Cancer on Cancer Day!

World Cancer Day was born on the 4 February 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris.

World Cancer Day held every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). We are all working together for a world where millions of avoidable cancer deaths are prevented and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for everyone – regardless of who you are or where you live – by increasing global awareness, enhancing education, and initiating proper individual, group, and governmental action.

What is cancer control?

Cancer control aims to reduce the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of cancer and to improve the quality of life of cancer patients in a defined population, through the systematic implementation of evidence-based interventions for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.
– Cancer control, Knowledge into action (WHO Guide for effective programs)

Reducing risk factors, as well as immunization and screening, can prevent many cancers. Some can be identified and treated at an early stage of development.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that occurs when certain body cells grow out of control and invade other body parts. Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which results in tumors, damage to the immune system, and other impairments that can be fatal.

During this World Cancer Day, let’s discuss some common myths surrounding this dreadful disease.

Do cell phones, wifi, and 5G cause cancer?

No, not really. It is not the low-frequency energy released by cell phones that causes cancer, but rather genetic mutations.  Similarly, extremely weak radiofrequency radiation, or radio waves, are transmitted by both 4G and 5G networks (non-ionizing). UV rays from the sun are examples of high-energy radiation (also known as ionizing radiation) that releases enough energy to break DNA. Essentially, this means that it cannot directly cause cancer because it lacks the energy to break DNA.

Is cancer contagious?

No. Cancer is not a disease that is easily transmissible from one person to another. Only in the event of an organ or tissue transplant can cancer spread from one individual to another. Receiving organs or tissues from a donor who has previously battled cancer may put the recipient at a higher risk of getting cancer after a transplant. Organs and tissue from donors with a history of cancer are not used by doctors.

Do herbal products cure cancer?

No. Although there are no herbal products that are effective in treating cancer, some studies indicate that certain herbs may help patients deal with the side effects of cancer treatment. Because some herbal products may interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, taking them during these treatments may be harmful. Therefore, patients with cancer should consult their physician before ingesting them.

Do underwired bras or using antiperspirants or deodorant cause cancer?

No. There is no evidence which supports that wearing an underwired bra increases the risk of breast cancer. Contrary to what you may have heard, underwired bras do not impede the flow of lymph fluid. Lymph fluid flows not towards the underwire but up and into the underarm lymph nodes.

According to the best research available, there is no proof that the chemicals commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants cause alterations in breast tissue.

Do microwaves cause cancer? 

In the same way as cell phone radio waves, microwave radiation doesn’t cause ionization. This indicates that microwave radiation cannot cause cancer directly because it is too weak to harm DNA.

Can I be considered risk-free if no one in my family has ever had cancer?

No. The data indicates that approximately 40% of men and women will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives. Genetic changes brought on by aging and exposure to environmental factors like radiation and tobacco smoke are the primary cause of most cancers. These changes can occur at any point in a person’s life.

Will consuming sugar aggravate my cancer?

No. Even though studies show that cancer cells use more sugar (glucose) than healthy cells, this does not imply that eating sugar will aggravate your cancer or it will disappear once you stop it.  Nevertheless, obesity is linked to a higher risk of acquiring various cancers, and a high-sugar diet might cause weight gain.

Likewise, YouTurn has already debunked a myth surrounded by cancer earlier which can be read below.

Read More: Can consumption of ‘hot coconut water’ or ‘soursop’ cure cancer?

More and more research is pointing to the potential harm caused by cancer misinformation, especially when it promotes unproven remedies.

In the meantime, instead of misleading the public with fake deaths to raise awareness, celebrities like Poonam Pandey can use social media responsibly to correct misinformation about cancer.

The fact that “news” organizations and media publications covered this story without independently checking the facts is what’s concerning and dangerous. She is free to do as she pleases, taking personal responsibility for her actions, but the media must be held accountable for disseminating misleading information.



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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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