Cancer: Myths and Realities

October is cancer awareness month, that’s why at Creafam we have created this series of videos with everything you need to know about cancer. In this first video, Dr. Carlos Cortés, an oncologist surgeon, explains the myths and realities of cancer.

Errata: In the video Dr. Carlos Cortés appears as “Oncology Surgeon, Gynecology and Obstetrics” his title should be “Oncology Surgeon, Oncology Gynecology”

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What is cancer?

Normally in our tissues there is a balance, our cells are continuously regenerating to keep us healthy and aging cells are being eliminated so that we are constantly growing new cells and eliminating cells that are no longer useful for our body.

When this balance is broken, that is, when for some reason our cells grow rapidly or our old cells are no longer eliminated, a tumor can be generated, that is, new and old cells accumulate, forming abnormal tissue. This abnormal tissue is initially known as a tumor, that is, the growth of a tissue when this tumor has certain characteristics, that is, it grows faster and begins to invade or hurt parts of our body, it can be considered as cancer. .

October is cancer awareness month, so we have decided to make a series of videos to explain the basics, everything you need to know about cancer. In this first video we are going to talk about the myths and the realities of cancer.

Is cancer contagious?

There is a belief that cancer can be transmitted or spread from one person to another and this is certainly false.

Regarding the possibility that a cancer is caused by a fungus, a bacterium or a virus, they are not a direct cause, they are associated with any of these microorganisms. The most common is cervical cancer, which is associated with an important risk factor, which is human papillomavirus infection. Human papillomavirus infection is of course transmitted if it is passed from one person to another through sexual contact.

Therefore, by treating the infection, by virus, bacteria or fungus, the generation of cancer associated with these can perhaps be prevented, but once the cancer is generated… We cannot treat that cancer with an antibiotic, unfortunately.

Does overeating cause cancer?

Another piece of information is whether eating excessive sugar, industrialized foods, or artificial flavorings can cause cancer. Up to this point there is only a suspicion and studies have been carried out for many years to try to show if this type of food, sweeteners or substances that we consume can cause cancer, however until now there are no studies that conclude that they do.

Does cutting it or operating it make it grow?

Many people think that cutting out their tumor can cause it to grow. Definitely take a sample or cut it, it’s necessary for diagnosis but it won’t necessarily cause it to grow.

What about electric towers and perfumes?

For a long time, the use of cell phones and proximity to sources of electrical energy have been associated with cancer generators. In the case of cell phones, a direct relationship with some type of cancer has not been established. Electrical energy sources such as high tension towers or high tension cables have a discreet relationship with some very specific types of cancer, of course, contact or proximity to these energy sources will not cause cancer.

We will not have cancer in the future by automatically passing close to a high voltage cable With respect to whether cancer is inherited or not having close relatives with cancer or not having relatives with cancer. Only 15% of cancers are inherited and 85% are cancers that originate “novo” which means that even if I don’t have any relatives I have that chance of developing cancer. With respect to chemical substances that come into contact with our body, let’s say deodorants, body creams, perfumes… They have definitely tried to associate it, but it has not been possible to establish a relationship with the generation of cancer.

Are people with fair skin more prone to cancer?

With respect to skin type, very light skins and white skins have a high risk of skin cancer and this is due to exposure to the sun, that is, we all sunbathe, but whoever has lighter skin has increased risk of skin cancer.

This skin cancer that appears mainly in fair-skinned people manifests as moles; the appearance of new moles or the alteration of moles that we already have, that is, moles that change tone, change color, darken, change shape or begin to grow; They are suspected cancer moles.

About the treatments.

Virtually every case of a cancer patient needing chemotherapy is in fear of side effects. Of course, it has side effects such as hair loss, but this is temporary, it is not permanent. Finishing the chemotherapy, the hair will reappear, the hair, the eyebrows, the body hair are completely recovered. All types of cancer have the risk of recurring but it depends on the type of cancer and the treatment that the person has received. Of course, the more advanced it is detected, the more chance that patient has of returning their cancer definitely does not return at all cases, fortunately.

There are cases that are more aggressive than others, but we have a very good chance of preventing this from happening. Definitely when cancer occurs, the patient will require treatment, be it surgery, medication or chemotherapy. Most patients will require a combination of treatments.

Many believe that using alternative therapies; Naturopathic, homeopathic treatments and special substances such as alkaline water have promised to improve the condition of cancer but have not been able to cure it, however, despite the fact that there are no studies that corroborate that the use of alternative therapies have a curative impact on cancer, I always tell patients: Regardless of whether you prefer to use one or the other alternative treatment, do not suspend your cancer treatments, that is, alternative treatments are not necessarily at odds with cancer treatment, but it is important not to suspend either of them.

When to go for review?

Definitely all abnormal growth in our body should be checked. If a small ball or a mole appears on our skin, a small ball in the throat or in the breast in the case of women. If we identify any abnormal tissue.

We need to be checked by a doctor to identify if extra studies are required and to know if it is a benign tissue or growth or a growth with the possibility of being cancer. Before talking about what we can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer, I would like to emphasize what unfortunately helps us to develop cancer, for example, in a very simple way, our lifestyles can be modified to cause cancer or for the opposite to happen. to prevent it. Eating excessively, not exercising with this we would be overweight and being overweight can favor many types of cancer we can also smoke and we can be in a highly polluted environment with this we could have all the advantage for cancer to be generated in the body.

“To reduce the risk we can do very simple things like taking care of our diet, exercising, not smoking and avoiding polluted environments”

Dr. Carlos A. Cortés
Dr. Carlos A. Cortés
Surgeon Oncologist
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