Busting the Top 4 Myths about Cancer

Cancer-Center-Logo-Red-BlackCancer. It’s a scary word and a scarier diagnosis. And the internet is a grab bag of conflicting information, all touting itself as accurate. How can anyone know what’s true and what’s false? Luckily, the Regional Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center has the facts in an area riddled with fiction.

Myth: I can’t really get cancer from an STD.

Fact: Two-thirds of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

According to Rhonda Roles, oncology nurse navigator with the Regional Cancer Center, human papilloma virus, better known as HPV, is a group of more than 150 viruses, some of which cause warts or a type of growth called a papilloma. Certain types of HPV are called high-risk because they are strongly linked to cancer of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women, penile cancer in men, and cancers of the anus, mouth and throat of both men and women. There might be no visible signs of infection with high-risk HPV until precancerous changes or cancer develops.

Myth: Hospice and palliative care provide the same services.

Fact: Palliative care can be accessed at any point in an illness and is therefore different than hospice.

Hospice always provides palliative care,” Roles said. “However, hospice is targeted care for those who are no longer seeking curative therapy, hence its role in end-of-life care.”

Myth: Colon cancer is more common in men than women:

Fact: Colon cancer is just as common in men as in women.

According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in both women and men. And that’s not where the similarities end.

“The symptoms of colon cancer are also similar in men and women,” Roles said. “That’s why regular screening is so important.”

Myth: Lung cancer is the only kind of cancer caused by smoking.

Fact: Smoking is a risk factor for several types of cancer.

“It has been proven that smoking causes not only lung cancer, but colorectal and liver cancers,” Roles said. “Studies also suggest men with prostate cancer who smoke may be more likely to die from the disease than nonsmokers.”