If we were to search “cure cancer” on Google, there will be millions of web pages and YouTube videos pop up 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. Subsequently, it affected the decision for treatment as well as causing a delay in the treatment that could have improved the chances of recovery. Here are some of the common myths that we often hear from people around us. It always leads to a question in our mind, “How true are these?”
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 the cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. This is also called secondary or metastatic cancer. So don’t be over pessimistic. Consult your oncologist, let he/she recommends 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, 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. Chemo started means I have to be hospitalised
Most cancer patients are treated on an outpatient basis rather than having to stay overnight in a 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 says otherwise. The traditional Chinese medicine used usually derived from herbs, it claims to be the mildest and causes least harm to one’s body. Will that really affect the Western treatment process?
5. Only take organic foods and cut down meat
There are thousands of websites arguing about this statement. Here, we are not saying that we shouldn’t think about what we eat. Yes, we agreed that blueberries, beetroot, lemon, green tea etc. are healthy. However, if we were to selectively choose our food intake, our body would 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 all sugar intakes, including those food that content high sugar such as mango, grapes etc. because sugar feeds the cancer cells. If we recalled what was taught in our biology classes, all sugars are carbohydrates – whether from a cake or a blueberry – 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
Why say so? Because it was deemed that cancer cells are acidic, hence, we need 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? Hmm... Not sure.
8. Porcupine date: 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. The community are getting crazy over this belief. Some people are even willing to pay up to RM110,000 to own a 170 grams porcupine date. Are there any medical proven cases to support this?
9. Papaya leaves cure cancer
Some people say that papaya leaves contain powerful healing compounds that are very important for great health, and are 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, based on the seriousness of the patient, 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
It is being highly priced in Malaysia and Singapore as it was claimed as a natural therapy of curing cancer. Now, we can find most of the household plant it for their own use. But how true are these claims?