Cancer myths and truths

With today’s technology, accessing information has never been easier. But don’t trust everything you read. There are many misconceptions associated with cancer, and it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

What is cancer?

Cancer occurs when the body’s cells begin to divide and multiply without stopping, spreading to surrounding tissues and forming malignant growths called tumors.

The process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, occurs naturally in healthy cells to help the body rid itself of unneeded cells. Cancer cells ignore this process, and continue to divide and influence normal cells, molecules and blood vessels, supplying them with the nutrients and oxygen the tumor needs to grow. 

Myth #1: Cancer is a death sentence

Cancer is definitely not a death sentence. Cancer survival rates in the United States have significantly increased since the 1990s. In fact, 5-year survival rates for breast, prostate and thyroid cancer are over 90 percent. It’s important to understand there are many factors that can affect a patient’s survival rate — both positively and negatively.

Myth #2: Cancer is contagious

Cancer isn’t contagious, like the flu. The only possibility of passing cancer from one person to another is in the case of tissue or organ transplantation, but the risk is extremely low — about two cases per every 10,000 transplants.

Myth #3: Sugar makes cancer worse

Sugar doesn’t worsen cancer. However, some studies have shown that cancer cells take in more sugar (glucose) than healthy cells. This doesn’t mean that eating sugar will make your cancer progress, or if you stop eating sugar, your cancer will go away. But it’s important to limit excessive amounts of sugar, as it can contribute to obesity, which is associated with an increased risk for developing certain cancers.

Myth #4: If my family hasn’t had cancer, I won’t either

You can still develop cancer even if no one in your family has. Though some cancers can be hereditary, lifestyle choices can also have a significant influence on your risk for developing cancer.

Myth #5: Modern medicine hasn’t made progress in the fight against cancer

Treating cancer has come a long way. With advanced, state-of-the-art technology and treatment options offered at Regional Cancer Care Associates, cancer treatment has never been as effective as it is today.

Common cancer treatment options

  • Immunotherapy – Helps the body’s immune system work smarter and harder so it can attack cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy – Targets drugs or other substances to precisely identify and attack cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy – Uses high-energy particles — or waves — that seek out and destroy or damage cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy – A selection of strong medications used to treat and cure cancer, based on a person’s specific needs
  • Surgery – Removes tumors, diagnoses the specific type of cancer, and determines how far it may have spread

The team at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division is committed to providing access to the highest quality, most advanced treatments available with a compassionate, community-based approach for the best outcomes possible. To schedule an appointment, call (888) 824-8312 or use our easy online form.

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