Throughout the years there have been many cancer myths floating around. The question is: Is there any truth to these cancer myths?

Myth 1: Hair dye causes brain cancer.

There has been a lot of speculation about hair dye and cancer. It has been thought that hair dye caused several different types of cancers like bladder and breast cancer, but there is no evidence of it causing brain tumors. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 25, hair dye does not increase the risk of developing cancer.

Myth 2: Cell phones cause cancer.

Contrary to popular belief, cell phones are not believed to be a cause of cancer. There is no credible study available that consistently proves that using a cell phone has the ability to cause cancer.

Myth 3: If your mom or dad had cancer, you will have it too

While it is true that some cancers are genetic, this does not mean that one will definitely develop cancer because of their heredity. Cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer are a few of the cancers that can be passed down genetically. If a parent has these cancers, the cancer gene may be passed to their child. If a child inherits the gene, it only raises the likelihood of developing cancer, not guaranteeing a cancer sentence.

Myth 4: Only women get breast cancer

This is by far the biggest cancer myth of all. Men get breast cancer also! Male breast cancer is uncommon, yet still happens.

Myth 5: Cancer is almost always fatal

No, this is not true. Though cancer can be aggressive and cause death; new breakthroughs in early detection of cancer have made it much more treatable. It is estimated that 40% of cancer patients reach or exceed the five year survivor mark!

Myth 6: Wearing antiperspirants and deodorant can cause cancer

According to the National Cancer Society, there is no conclusive evidence from recent studies that wearing them can cause breast cancer. This cancer myth is by far one of the most popular among women.

Myth 7: Some types of cancer can be contagious

No type of cancer is contagious. However, there are two known contagious viruses, HPV and Hepatitis C, which can cause cancer. HPV is a known risk factor for cervical cancer and Hep C causes liver cancer. Both viruses can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, although Hep C is more often transmitted through blood to blood contact such as sharing needles and transfusions (prior to 1992).

Myth 8: A person develops cancer because they have a weakened immune system

Although this is partially true among certain people—such as those with AIDS or those who take immune-suppressing drugs following an organ transplant—the “strength” of someone’s immune system does not affect the chance of developing cancer. Most common cancers do not occur in people with immune system problems.

Myth 9: People with cancer remain must remain confined in a hospital bed

Most people living with cancer are treated on an outpatient basis (with periodic appointments, rather than an overnight stay at a hospital) in their home community and can continue with some or all of their day-to-day activities. For example, many people can work part-time or full-time, care for children, and attend social activities, despite undergoing cancer treatment.

Myth 10: Sugar causes cancer to grow faster

Although all cells, including cancer cells, use glucose (blood sugar) for energy, sugar does not speed tumor growth. In turn, removing sugar from your diet will not slow tumor growth.

Myth 11: Cancer treatment is usually worse than the disease.

Although cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation are known to have some side effects that can be unpleasant and sometimes dangerous, recent advances have resulted in many chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments that are much better tolerated than past treatments. Symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and tissue damage are much less common these days.