If we were to search “cure for cancer” on Google, there will be endless articles about it in the search results. Many people choose to believe anecdotal stories from friends and relatives or tales off the internet instead of seeing an oncologist. This often affected the decision for treatment as well as causing a delay in treatment. Here are 10 myths about cancer we often hear from people around us. But, how true are they?
1) Stage 4 cancer means “I’m dying very soon!”
A lot of people have the impression that stage 4 cancer means there is no more cure to it – blame the movies and drama series. The stages of cancer describe the size of a tumour and how far it has spread from where it originated. In the case of stage 4 cancer, it means that the cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. This is also called the secondary or metastatic cancer. So don’t be over pessimistic. Consult your oncologist, let him recommend the most suitable treatment for you.
2) Chemotherapy will kill you!
Many people has the impression that chemotherapy is a painful process, where all healthy cells will be destroyed, leading to many side effects and leaving the body to be weakened. Well, the truth is, your oncologist will only prescribe the amount of drugs based on your health condition and blood count before every course to ensure you get an effective treatment. Your oncologist will know what is best for you.
3) I have to be hospitalised for Chemotherapy.
Most cancer patients are treated on an outpatient basis rather than having to stay in the hospital. There are also many forms of chemotherapy – injections, tablets etc. Depending on the form of treatment, the chemotherapy sessions can be done in daycare centres. Post therapy, patients can continue with their day-to-day activities just like any normal persons out there. But of course, the patient may feel fatigue at times and oncologist usually will advise them to stay away from crowded places.
4) Conflicts between Chinese and Western medicine.
Combining both Chinese and Western medicine could lead to conflict in cancer treatment, however, some say otherwise. Bear in mind, the traditional Chinese medicine is usually derived from herbs, which claims to be natural and mild.Will that really affect the Western treatment process? Think about it.
5) Only take organic foods and cut down on meat.
There are thousands of websites arguing about this statement. Here, we are not saying that we shouldn’t think about what we eat. However, if we were to selectively choose our food intake, our body will not have a healthy and balanced diet. Are we being oversimplified by saying that any one food on its own, will cause a major influence over the growth of cancer in the body?
6) Cancer cells love sugar
I believe this is one of the most common myths we always hear from the people around us – cut down on all sugar intakes, including those food that content high sugar such as mango, grapes etc. because sugar feeds the cancer cells. According to biology, all sugars are carbohydrates – whether from a cake or a blueberry – they get broken down in our digestive system to release glucose and fructose. All our cells, regardless of healthy or cancerous, will need glucose for energy. Let’s think about it, if we were to cut down all sugar intakes, yes, we may stop feeding cancer cells, but how about the healthy cells?
7) Only consume alkaline water
This saying exists because it was deemed that cancer cells are acidic, hence, we need more alkaline to destroy them. But is there any good evidence to prove that water can manipulate our whole body pH, or that it has an impact on cancer? This myth to-date is yet to be justified.
8) Porcupine date, the herbs for cancer.
Several incidences have been pointing to the porcupine date stone as one amazing alternative medicine for almost all kinds of diseases even tumour and cancer. Its high medicinal value is comparable to the Chinese herbs for cancer. Some people are willing to pay up to RM110,000 to own a 170 grams porcupine date. However, are there any medical proven cases to support this? Not quite.
9) Papaya leaf cures cancer.
Some people say that papaya leaf contains powerful healing compounds and is able to cure cancer and dengue fever. It was supported by researcher that an extract made from dried papaya leaves killed cancer cells directly and slowed the growth of tumour cells in cultures. No doubt we read about the benefits of papaya leaf, however, should we also consider working closely with the medical professionals to weigh the effectiveness of all kinds of treatment options available?
10) Sabah snake grass is a cancer saviour
Sabah snake grass is highly priced in Malaysia and Singapore as it was deemed an effective natural therapy for curing cancer. Some even plant it for their own use. But how true are these claims?
This article was written solely based on the writer’s personal experience, who has lost a family member to terminal cancer after a 2-year battle. Throughout the journey, the family members collated numerous tales about cancer treatment. To date, none of them are able to prove that they are the cure for cancer. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with cancer – the patient needs your utmost support (both mentally and physically) throughout the battle, be extremely patient with him/her, and seek professional advice from your trusted oncologist.