Myths and Fallacies About Cancer
In certain cases, popular views regarding the origin and spread of Cancer seem to make sense even if they are scientifically incorrect.
There are, however, some misconceptions regarding Cancer that can cause unnecessary anxiety and even impede the best possible treatment or preventative options.
There are many myths and misconceptions regarding Cancer, and this page presents the most up-to-date science-based facts.
Is a diagnosis of Cancer a death warrant?
Since the 1990s, cancer mortality rates have progressively decreased in the United States.
Some malignancies, such as breast, prostate, and thyroid cancers, have five-year survival rates of 90% or better.
Currently, the five-year survival rate for all cancers combined is 67%.
But it’s worth keeping in mind that these figures are based on many people’s responses to surveys.
If a cancer patient has a slow-growing or fast-growing Cancer, how long they have to live and whether or not they will die from the disease depends on a wide range of factors, including whether or not therapy is available, the patient’s overall condition, and more.
Is Cancer infectious?
- To spread Cancer, one must be infected with the disease.
- To spread Cancer, one must have an organ or tissue transplantation, which is the only condition it occurs.
- For example, someone who receives an organ or tissue from a donor who has had Cancer in the past may have an elevated chance of acquiring transplant-related Cancer.
- There are just two cancer occurrences per 10,000 organ transplants, which means that the risk is exceedingly low.
- In general, doctors will not take organs or tissue from people who have had Cancer in the past.
- Cancer may be caused by some viruses (such as HPV) and bacteria in some people (such as Helicobacter pylori).
- A virus or bacterium can transmit from one person to another, but Cancer cannot.
- The National Cancer Institute’s fact sheet on Helicobacter pylori and Cancer and our sites on HPV and Cancer and Infectious Agents provide additional information on cancer-causing viruses and bacteria.
What is the relationship between mutations in different genes?
Cancer is caused by genetic alterations, both those you are born with and those that you acquire over time.
This does not mean, for example, that you are guaranteed to get Cancer because you have a genetic mutation that increases your risk of developing the disease.
To produce Cancer, one or more additional genetic alterations may be required.
Because of your family history, you may be more susceptible to developing Cancer than the average person is exposed to a material known to cause Cancer.
Is it possible to identify the causes of gene mutations?
Gene mutations can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Gene mutations are a part of your DNA from the moment you are born.
- It’s possible that you were born with a genetic mutation that was passed down via your family.
- Only a small fraction of tumors are caused by this particular type of mutation.
- Gene mutations develop after the time of conception.
- Most gene mutations happen after you’re born and aren’t passed down through your family. One of the most common causes of gene changes is the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products and other cancer-causing substances (carcinogens).
- There are numerous instances of gene alterations during cell proliferation.
- There is a mechanism in place in cells to correct errors when discovered.
- On rare occasions, a blunder goes unnoticed.
- This could lead to the development of Cancer in a cell.