In a time when cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, it is important to create the right awareness and debunk myth related to the disease, says Kapil Kumar, Director of Cancer Surgery at Fortis Group of Hospitals, Delhi.

“On World Cancer Day, I will be talking about myths about cancer which are there in the normal population,” he told Opoyi and listed few facts related to the disease that needs attention.

Cancer is incurable: It is not incurable and depends on how early we detect it because that’s how we can cure cancer by almost 90-95 percent. Even in stages 3 and 4, treatments are available including immunotherapy that has helped in the survival of patients so cancer is not a death sign for the patient.

Cancer is contagious: It does not spread to other family members or friends by touching or using the same utensil. Yes, keeping the hygiene is important but it’s not contagious.

Biopsy or surgery can spread cancer: I am in this profession for over 30 years and I can say that surgery or biopsy doesn’t spread cancer to another part of the body. Yes if it has already spread before doing biopsy then that is a different thing and that’s why I say early detection is important.

Cancer runs in families: It happens in only 5-10 percent especially breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Very few cancer run in the families and there are some genetic testing that can be done to know that.

Eating sugar can increase the size of tumour: No it does not.

Herbs help in the cure of Cancer: It does help in boosting immunity but I didn’t come across any herb that can cure cancer

The use of phones increase the cancer tumor: Yes high dose of radiation can increase the cancer incidence but not a small dose of radiation and there is no data that verifies the increase in incidences of cancer due to this

Detection and symptoms: Symptoms of cancer are not unique for example if the fever is not going away by normal treatment or lump does not decrease from the original size or bleeding from vagina, rectum or bladder or blood in sputum, loss of weight, and appetite and an ulcer that does not heal. These are some of the common symptoms so if they are not going away with treatment in two weeks so they should get themselves checked.

Is the treatment of cancer expensive: Yes it is especially as cancer advances that’s why it is important to be incurred, rather the whole country should be insured.