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7 common childhood cancer myths debunked

Separate fact from fiction.

DO you know the facts about childhood cancer?

About 800 to 1,000 South Africans under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer annually.

“Unfortunately, these figures may be much higher, as it is estimated that half of all children who have cancer are never diagnosed due to a lack of knowledge of symptoms, access to treatment or cultural myths regarding cancer,” reads a statement issued by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).

To separate fact from fiction, CANSA debunks seven common cancer myths:

1. Children don’t get cancer:
FALSE – cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender – even babies can have cancer.

2. Childhood cancer is a white person’s disease:
FALSE – cancer can affect anyone, regardless of race or cultural group.

3. Childhood cancer is preventable:
FALSE – no-one can be blamed if a child has cancer. It’s not inherited but caused by DNA changes that occur early in the child’s life, or even before birth. Childhood cancer is not like adult cancers, which are mainly the result of poor lifestyle choices or as a result of exposure to carcinogens in the environment.

4. Childhood cancer is contagious:
FALSE – cancer is not contagious and can’t spread from one person to another. It’s not a virus that can be transmitted or transferred by interaction.

5. Childhood cancer is the result of a curse or witchcraft:
FALSE – research shows that the cause of childhood cancer is as a result of DNA changes that occur early in the child’s life, or even before birth.

6. Childhood cancer can’t be medically treated/beaten:
FALSE – if cancer is detected early and treatment timeously receive,d up to 80% of childhood cancer patients can be treated successfully.

7. All childhood cancer survivors aren’t able to have children:
FALSE – the majority of childhood cancer survivors will not face fertility or reproductive health challenges.”

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