Misconceptions about lung cancer seem to hang around forever like cigarette smoke in a night club. You’ve probably heard some of these ‘gems’ like “only smokers get it” or “lung cancer has no symptoms”. They are the sort of beliefs that at first glance seem reasonable, perhaps because of our own personal biases or individual experiences.
Many of these perceptions however are totally wrong or need a little tweaking. Here’s a list of some of the most common lung cancer myths, so that the next time someone says something factually incorrect, you can look knowingly at them and say, “Eh not true lah!”
I don’t smoke so I won’t get lung cancer
Although it’s true that the majority of lung cancer patients worldwide are smokers, an estimated 15 – 20 percent of men and 50 percent of women who have lung cancer are ‘never smokers’. These are patients who have smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. The number of non-smokers contracting this disease is growing and is becoming a concern for all. So don’t be too quick to say “they deserve it what” the next time you hear someone contracting lung cancer.
Lung cancer is caused only by smoking
This myth is directly related to the above. Yes, smoking causes the majority of lung cancer cases, but the disease can also be triggered by exposure to second-hand smoke, radon, uranium, arsenic, nickel and asbestos. Those who are related to lung cancer victims are also more susceptible, regardless of whether they smoke. Air pollution too can play a role in causing lung cancer.
It’s a male disease
The top cancer for men is certainly lung, but unfortunately, the disease features very high up the list for women too. Worldwide, lung cancer is the third most common cancer affecting women, right after breast and colorectum. It’s also in the top three for women right here in Malaysia. Hooray?
No point quitting if you have cancer
So not true! If you are diagnosed, kicking the habit will help raise the success rate of surgery, improve the effectiveness of treatment, reduces the risk of secondary tumours and increases the chances of survival.
If I have no symptoms, I’m healthy
Lung cancer has a talent for stealth and disguise. Symptoms can take years to appear, and when they do, are often confused as signs of other problems. Plus, about 25% of lung cancer victims display NO symptoms at all and are only diagnosed through a routine CT scan or X-ray.
I’m too young for cancer
Lung cancer can attack people of ANY age. Even if you don’t smoke, you may be genetically at risk or live in polluted areas. A cursory search on the Internet will reveal surprising numbers of young people all over the world who have survived or are living with the disease.
You can’t prevent lung cancer
There is no way to ‘prevent’ this diseases from occurring with certainty, but to say there’s nothing you can do about it is needless fatalism. For starters, if you smoke, take the steps to quit permanently. Studies show that quitting smoking lowers your chances of contracting cancer over time. You can also take protective measures if you are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke and hazardous materials (radon, asbestos). Plus, adopt a good diet and exercise regularly. If you DO get cancer, staying fit will enhance your body’s fighting abilities and help you recover faster from treatments.
And of course, we all need to protect ourselves with a good insurance plan. Many of us know of people who have fallen victim to cancer, which can exact a huge toll physically, emotionally and financially. Medical experts are quite capable of helping one overcome and recuperate from the disease, but we will need to rely on ourselves to ensure that we have the financial means to fight for our health with all our strength. That’s why we recommend that you look at our AXA 200 CancerCare plan as protection for the future, for you and your family. It will help you prepare well should the worse ever occur!