5 Common Cancer Myths

We’ve come a long way in how well we understand cancer, its risk factors, and how to fight it. But as awareness grows, so has misinformation. There are a lot of myths out there about what cancer is, its risk factors, and its treatments.

Let’s set the record straight. Here are five of the most common myths about cancer, and the truth about them:

  1. Cancer is a death sentence.
    Though many of the big cancer stories in the media involve life-threatening cases, this does not reflect today’s reality about cancer.

In fact, research and treatment for cancer has come a long way. According to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, patients in the United Sates now have over a 90 percent five-year survival rate for many cancers including breast, prostate, thyroid and more. The five-year survival rate for all cancers is at 66 percent.

  1. Sugar makes cancer spread.
    This myth is rooted in the fact that cancerous cells consume more glucose (sugar) than healthy cells. But that’s as far as the truth for this myth goes.

The belief that because cancer cells consume more sugar, that consuming more sugar makes cancer spread, is false. Likewise, cutting sugar out of your diet will not make cancer shrink or disappear.

  1. _____ causes cancer.
    Artificial sweeteners, cell phones, power lines, microwaves, and many other products of modern life have been said to be associated with a higher risk of cancer. But for all the items listed here, any kind of link to cancer risk has not been proven by any scientific research to date.

In fact, many of these concerns are more rumor than truth. If you have questions about whether an item can increase your risk, talk to your doctor.

  1. A person’s attitude can determine his/her cancer treatment success.
    When a person is fighting cancer, it is normal to feel all kinds of extreme emotions—including ones that are typically classified as “negative” such as sadness, anger, and discouragement.

This is okay, and there is no scientific evidence that experiencing these feelings reduces your chances of getting cancer, beating cancer, or having a recurrence.

  1. If a person’s relative gets cancer, they will, too.
    It’s true that risk factors for some cancers are genetic, not all of them are. In fact, only 5-10 percent of cancers are genetically linked.

Of course, this myth has a dangerous flip side—the belief that if an individual is not related to anyone who has had cancer, that s/he won’t ever get cancer, either. The truth is, about 40 percent of the general population gets cancer at some point in their lives, according to Cancer.gov.

Knowledge is power

Cancer can be scary, and with so many different kinds, it is hard to understand. This leads to inaccuracies and even totally non-factual information spreading.

But knowledge is power. Knowing the facts about cancer can help you make good decisions to control your risk factors, catch cancer early, and live a healthy life. If you’re not sure if something you hear about cancer is accurate, research it or ask a doctor.

4 Ways To Lower Your Breast Cancer RIsk

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer for women after skin cancer, according to data from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

In the United States alone, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected in women in 2015, and another 62,570 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Among those patients, an estimated 40,290 women died from breast cancer, as well as 440 men.

Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer. Here are the top four ways to lower your risk:

Don’t smoke

Breaking this bad habit is already a well-known tactic for avoiding lung cancer, but increasing amounts of evidence link smoking to breast cancer, too. This is especially important for pre-menopausal women.

Manage your weight

Being overweight or obese is another way to increase your risk. To keep your risk in check, maintain a healthy weight. This is even more important after menopause. 

Breast feed

Breast feeding your babies, if you have them, can reduce your risk for breast cancer. The longer you breast feed, the lower your risk. 

Limit hormone therapy

Taking combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. This includes birth control with hormones, too. If you’re on a hormone regimen, use the lowest possible effective dose—or even better, talk to your doctor about alternatives.


Factors in your control

There’s no way to completely eliminate all your risk for breast cancer. But, there are certain factors that are in your control. These five ways to reduce your risk is a great place to start—and don’t forget to take care of yourself with regular check-ins with your doctor, too.

Cancer Awareness Dates for Fall 2015

Right now, the sun is bright and the temps may be sweltering, but fall is just around the corner. As you pull out those trunks of sweaters and shop for kids’ back-to-school supplies, don’t forget that fall is also a season full of awareness events for important causes.

(Click Here to Download the Cancer Ribbons pdf)

Make note of these important dates now so you don’t miss the chance to contribute to these important awareness initiatives! Follow the links to learn more about each cause and what you can do to spread the word.


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
The loss of a young life is utterly heartbreaking. And yet, relative to other causes, childhood cancer is often pushed aside from the limelight, and research is largely underfunded.

Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
This initiative focuses on the five types of cancer to women’s reproductive organs. All women are at risk, and that risk increases with age.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month
Both cancers of the blood and bone, these two cancers are responsible for an estimated 21,000-plus deaths each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Perfectly in line with Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, this initiative focuses specifically on cancer of the ovaries.

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Men’s cancer issues need awareness, too. Prostate cancer is complex and has many subtypes.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month
In 2014, the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., announced a record number of 62,980 thyroid cancer diagnoses.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Possibly the most popular awareness initiative of the season! But this important cause still needs your support.

There are several one-day events connected to this awareness initiative during the month:

  • October 16: National Mammography Day
    Mammographies can catch breast cancer early and save lives. This event lands on the third Friday of October each year.
  • October 13: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
    Metastatis is when cancer spreads from one part of the body into others. This is what causes deaths from breast cancer.

Liver Cancer Awareness Month
Cancer of the liver is the fifth most common type of cancer in the world.


Lung Cancer Awareness Month
The Lung Cancer Alliance expects this year’s initiative to include over 125 events in three continents.

National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
With almost a million new cases of stomach cancer diagnosed each year, it’s the second leading cause of cancer death, according to No Stomach for Cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
In the United States, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just six percent.

Fall is a busy season with many good causes to get behind. Take a little time to explore each, and spread the word to help others do the same. Together, we can all learn more, prevent and reduce the impact of cancers of all kinds, and save lives.