Try a Google search on ‘cancer’ and you’ll be hit with millions of web pages. And same is the case with YouTube videos. Not only does an online search brings up a wealth of credible information about the disease and its treatment, but also pages spreading common myths and misconceptions. So how do we know what’s accurate when some of these myths can sound perfectly logical?

Certain popular notions about how cancer starts and spreads—though scientifically wrong—can seem to make sense, especially when those ideas are rooted in old theories. But wrong ideas about cancer can lead to needless worry and even affect good prevention and treatment decisions. It is always advisable to check the source of the article. Medical professionals writing an article or blog on their specialties would always be more reliable than an unknown source.

Here are some common cancer myths and misconceptions:

Myth 1: Cancer is a man-made, modern disease

Cancer is not just a ‘modern’, man-made disease of Western society. Cancer has existed as long as humans have. There is evidence of cancer in historical scriptures and archaeologists have found remains of people who died of cancer thousands of years ago. Our lifestyle and longevity might have increased the risk of cancer.

Myth 2: Superfoods prevent cancer

Blueberries, beetroot, broccoli, garlic, green tea… the list goes on. Despite thousands of websites claiming otherwise, there’s no such thing as a ‘superfood’. It’s a marketing term used to sell products and has no scientific basis. These foods rich antioxidants may reduce the risk, but cannot completely
prevent it. 

Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ diets cause cancer

This is biological nonsense. True, cancer cells can’t live in an overly alkaline environment, but neither can any of the other cells in your body. There’s no good evidence to prove that diet can manipulate whole body pH, or that it has an impact on cancer. However, it is true that the acid secreted by stomach
has a role in reducing cancer risk.

Myth 4: Cancer is a fungus – and sodium bicarbonate is the cure

Proponents of this theory say that cancer is caused by infection by the fungus candida, and that tumours are actually the body’s attempt at protecting itself from this infection. As far as we are aware, there have been no published clinical trials of sodium bicarbonate as a treatment for cancer. We do wish it was that simple.

Myth 5: There’s a miracle cancer cure…

From cannabis to coffee enemas, the internet is awash with videos and personal anecdotes about ‘natural’ ‘miracle’ cures for cancer. Some wild fruits have been portrayed as miracle cure for cancer. Medical science specialises in extracting the chemicals available in naturally occurring in the environment to see the effect on cancer cells and make to available to patients. Many of the treatments available to days have been derived from naturally occurring chemicals.

Myth 6: Alternate medicine can cure cancer without side effect…

Contrary to popular belief, alternate medicines are not side effect free. Many of the products used in alternative medicine have heavy metals which are poisonous and can affect the function of vital organs. The naturally occurring chemicals in plants that have medicinal property need to be extracted to give best results. When these products are administered without purification, the other chemicals in the product can cause severe side effects.

Modern medicine may still be lagging behind in the treatment of some cancers. However, what is provided by modern medicine is tested, researched and documented. It is important that the patients don’t take treatment based in myths and loose valuable time when cancer could be cured.