It’s probably not a huge exaggeration to say that cancer scares people more than other diseases. People think that an oncological disease is a death sentence and the media makes matters worse by talking about cancer all the time. Today, many people suffer from the fear of getting cancer and often “diagnose” themselves with it the second they feel a little sick.
We at Bright Side think that we should fight our fears and get rid of them as fast as possible. That’s why we’ve prepared 7 comforting facts about the most terrifying disease in the world. We are not trying to say that you should ignore worrying symptoms and that you should forego a trip to the doctor, we just want you to panic less.
1. If a hair is growing through a mole, it’s most likely not melanoma.
Many people who have moles are scared of getting skin cancer. But here’s some good news: if a hair is growing through a mole, it’s most likely benign. The thing is, if a hair managed to grow through, the skin structure is not altered. When a person has skin cancer, the channels that hair grow through can’t form.
However, if hair used to grow through the mole and now it doesn’t, this still doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cancer. But you should still see a doctor to be sure you’re alright.
2. Benign tumors stay benign in most cases.
Almost all benign tumors never become cancerous — aside from some super-rare exceptions, such as, for example, colon polyps (it is better to remove them because they can transform into cancer). And many breast tumors, such as fibroadenomas, almost never turn into cancer and neither do ovarian cysts or womb fibroids.
3. If you have a painful bump, it’s very unlikely to be cancerous.
Most cancerous tumors don’t hurt. So, if you have a painful bump on top of the skin or under it, it’s probably not cancer. But it may be a dangerous infection that needs treatment so you should definitely see a doctor!
4. Symptoms that last for years are not likely signs of cancer.
If you’ve been coughing for years, or have had headaches or abdominal bloating — it’s not cancer. If it had been cancer, it would’ve killed you a long time ago. However, it may be a different, less dangerous (but still serious) illness, so see a doctor anyway.
5. Symptoms that come and go aren’t usually signs of cancer.
If you have a bump that suddenly appeared, like a rash, and then disappeared a week later, it’s not cancer. Cancer has symptoms that only become stronger over time. The only exception is colon cancer — it causes diarrhea with blood that may come and go.
6. “Cancer is becoming younger” is a myth.
It seems that there are more and more young patients who are diagnosed with cancer but this is not true. In the US, the average age of a person who has cancer is 66 years and people that are under 20 have only 1% of all cancers. People aged 55 years and older have the highest risk of developing cancer — just under 80% of all cancers are among this age group. It’s just that now we get a bit more information about cases of cancer thanks to the media, social media, and non-profit organizations.
7. 30% to 50 % of cancers can be prevented.
According to information provided by the World Health Organization, 30% to 50% of cancers can be prevented by simply changing one’s lifestyle to a more healthy one. Here’s a series of recommendations on how to protect yourself from cancer:
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t let other people smoke in your house or at your workplace.
- Control your weight.
- Move more and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
- Eat more whole wheat foods, fruit, and vegetables. Limit the consumption of high-calorie foods, sweet drinks, red meat, and foods that contain a lot of salt.
- Stop drinking alcohol or at least limit it.
- Avoid being exposed to UV-light.
- Try not to contact cancerogenic substances at work and follow the health safety instructions and rules.
- Check the radiation levels at your house.
- Vaccinate your children.
- Breastfeed your children if you can.
- Limit taking hormone replacement therapy.
Have we managed to calm you down a bit? Tell us down below.