Myth or Fact? Test Your Cancer Knowledge
Only women get breast cancer.
Myth. Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and more than 400 will die. Though this percentage is small, men should take precautions by giving themselves regular self-exams and alert their physicians to any changes they notice. The UAB Breast Health Center is a leader in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research.
Getting a second opinion on your cancer diagnosis will not offend your doctor.
Fact. Most often, your doctor will welcome a second opinion and recognize it as a step in finalizing your treatment plan. Many health insurance companies will foot the bill for a second opinion, and some even require one. Learn more about a second opinion at UAB , including our remote second opinion program .
[Source: National Cancer Institute]
The death rate from all cancers for men and women is decreasing.
Fact. Both the death rate and rate of diagnosis of all cancers decreased between 2003 and 2007, according to the most recent Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. This trend is great news, but according to Dr. Ed Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, we still have a great deal of work to do, especially here in Alabama where we have one of the highest rates of cancer mortality in the nation.
[Source: Ed Partridge, MD , director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center]
Colon cancer does not run in my family, so I don’t need a colonoscopy.
Myth. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the third most common cancer in the U.S. When detected early it is one of the most highly treatable cancers, so getting a colonoscopy is extremely important. Get your first colonoscopy at age 50 and continue to have one every 10 years. If colon cancer does run in your family, talk to your doctor to see if you should be screened more often. Learn more about colonoscopies and the other cancer screenings you need here .
[Source: Ed Partridge, MD, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center]
Obesity is only a risk factor for heart disease.
Myth. Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, but that’s not all. According to Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), it is a major risk factor for six cancers: postmenopausal breast, colorectal, endometrial, kidney, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers, and may be a factor for ovary and gallbladder cancers. Obesity is a major research focus at the UAB CCC.
[Source: UAB CCC Crossroads January 2012]
Chemotherapy is the only way to treat cancer.
Myth. Chemotherapy is an often-utilized cancer treatment, but it is not the only way to battle this disease. At UAB, we cater each patient’s treatment plan to their personal diagnosis. Our team of cancer experts specialize in oncology, hematology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and more—and work together with other specialists to provide the most comprehensive treatment approach possible.
[Source: UAB CCC, UABMedicine.org]
Non-smokers can get lung cancer.
Fact. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, but it is not the only one. Exposure to asbestos, radon, secondhand smoke, environmental agents, and other unknown causes can lead to the disease. Alabama has one of the highest lung cancer rates in the U.S., and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is actively researching and developing new ways to treat this disease—the number one cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
[Source: UAB CCC, NCI, Lungcancer.org]
Cancer death rates are highest among black men and women.
Fact. Cancer is not an equal-opportunity disease. Cancer rates are 10 percent higher among African-Americans than Caucasians, and death rates are twice as high. While the cause of these statistics is still unknown the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center has a long history of working in communities and in the lab to understand and eventually eliminate cancer disparities.
[Source: Ed Partridge, MD , director of the CCC]
Skin cancer only affects light-skinned people.
Myth. While light-skinned people are more prone to developing skin cancer, people of all skin tones are at risk. Unfortunately, some people mistakenly assume their darker skin makes them immune, which can lead to a late—and therefore potentially serious—skin cancer diagnosis. No matter your skin tone, wear sunscreen daily, pay attention to changes in your skin, and discuss them with your doctor. To learn more about your risk for skin and other cancers, take our online risk assessment.
A Pap Smear detects ovarian cancer.
Myth. Pap smears detect cervical—not ovarian—cancer. Women should get their first Pap smears at age 21 and every one to three years afterward. When abnormalities are found and treated early, very few progress to cervical cancer. Experts at UAB typically avoid screening for ovarian cancer, since the test can be inaccurate and cause health problems. Talk to your doctor if ovarian cancer runs in your family. Discover more about pap smears and other important cancer screenings here .
[Source: Ed Partridge, MD]