Often when patients present for a cancer screening with their medical professionals, they will come with a number of misconceptions about cancer. These misconceptions are common because of a number of reasons, including how dramatic an impact cancer has on people’s lives, how common cancers are but how uncommon certain types are, and how many different ways it can afflict people.
To combat some of this misinformation, G & L Surgical Clinic has put together this short article on cancer myths and misconceptions. This can form a great starting point for discussion with your medical professional. Read on to learn more.
Cancer is always symptomatic
While it is broadly accepted that not all cancers are symptomatic (exhibiting symptoms), there are certain cancers that have become strongly associated with certain symptoms. These associations can be so strong that some people will not consider that they may have the disease if they do not have the symptom. Examples include stomach cancer, which is normally associated with chronic indigestion or abdominal pain, but is also seen in the relationship between colorectal cancer and constipation or blood in the stool. It’s precisely because of these lack of symptoms that regular screenings are crucial for at-risk demographics.
Cancer screening can worsen or spread cancer
This is a particularly insidious misconception as it may scare away symptomatic patients from speaking to a medical professional. Some patients worry that biopsies can cause the spread of cancer cells, leading to the development of secondary cancers. A 2015 study by the Jacksonville, Florida campus of the Mayo Clinic revealed this to be a myth, showing that patients who had chosen to have a biopsy experienced better health outcomes and a longer survival than those who avoided them. The use of fine needle aspiration – a precise and minimally invasive technique – to draw out cancer cells in a biopsy means that patients have no need to be worried about the spread of cancer cells.
Cancer diagnoses are always fatal
With all cancers, early diagnosis leads to earlier treatment, which can lead to better treatment outcomes for the patient and longer lifespans. While some cancers are far more deadly or fast-acting than others, many are highly treatable and develop slowly, offering a large amount of time for detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Discuss cancer screening with the team at G & L Surgical Clinic today and safeguard your health.