Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Continued Myth about Cancer

Is it true that when you have surgery and air hits the cancer cells it causes the cancer to spread rapidly through out the body?

This is what everyone tells me and about 41 percent believe in this myth as published in Cancer Myths Abound, Survey Finds from HealthDay News, Monday - June 27.

While cancer is less likely to be talked about today in the hushed tones of yesteryear, Americans still hold many misconceptions about the disease, a poll of U.S. adults has found.

For example, among 957 U.S. adults polled, about 41 percent believe that surgical treatments for cancer actually spread the disease.

Another 27 percent believe scientists have already found a cure for cancer, but that this cure is being withheld by the health care industry because it makes more money treating the illness...
People seem to imagine that "Treating cancer with surgery can cause it to spread throughout the body" but it's false. Visit the American Cancer Society to get the true facts on cancer.

Myths About Surgery for Cancer

Myth: Treating cancer with surgery causes it to spread throughout the body.

Respondents Who Agreed: 41%

Origin: This myth may have started many years ago when most patients already had very advanced cancers by the time they sought medical care. Doctors may have operated to find the cause of a patient's illness and found an advanced cancer that could not be treated successfully. When the patient died a short time later, observers thought the surgery caused the cells to spread and killed the patient.

Reality: Specialists in cancer surgery know how to safely take biopsy samples and to remove tumors without causing spread of the cancer. In many cases, surgery is an essential part of the cancer treatment plan.

For a few types of cancer, surgeons take extra precautions to prevent any chance of the cancer spreading. For example, in testicular cancer the entire testicle containing the cancer is removed, so no cancer cells are dislodged. Doctors who perform surgery for cancer are specialists and are highly trained in the intricacies of cancer and anatomy.
Another myth mentioned in the poll is that drug companies are withholding the cure for cancer because they would lose the money that they get from treating patients with today’s drugs. This conspiracy theory is also nonsense but very common. Cancer is not one disease but many and it is unlikely that any single "cure" would work for all of them.

Over at Directory of Acoustic Neuroma Myths they have listed some of the misconceptions about cancer and surgery.

Another myth that I heard lately was that sugar "feeds cancer".

I made a Google on this and realised how popular this myth is.

I know that all cells use glucose/sugar and cancer cells need a fair amount, I would expect. The body also regulates sugar levels in the blood and if you don't eat sugar or carbohydrate your cells will convert protein into sugar and from your own muscle if necessary. So anyone who tells you "sugar feeds cancer" is making the claim that if you eat less sugar, your cancer cells will "starve". The body regulates sugar levels closely, so how will that help?

The main thing with that myth is there's no proof it is true.

The reasons for these myths are historical; some of them used to be true but no longer is. At other times, the reason is that doctors and patients speak different languages and misunderstandings arise. In yet other cases it's just wishful thinking on the part of patients.

Legal Myths May Prevent Comfort Measures for Dying Patients

Myths and Half-Truths About Cancer

Top 10 Cancer Myths Quiz

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