Cancer, the disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue, kills more than half a million people a year in the U.S. alone, making cancer the second leading cause of death in the country, exceeded only by heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).
Many factors contribute to why so many people develop the disease in the first place, many of which one can control entirely. However, “we take better care of our cars than out bodies,” Dr. Soumit Basu, Northeast region director of Hematology and Oncology at Geisenger, says.
A lot of misconceptions about the condition remain. It is not a death sentence by any means. Treatment have evolved in the last 25 years, Dr. Basu says. For example, in the modern era, a person suffering from leukemia has a 75 percent chance of surviving if he or she gets a bone marrow transplant, Dr. Basu says. “It used to be just 20 percent with chemotherapy alone.”
Quality of life as well as longevity has improved significantly, too. The single most important part in making sure they do is early detection.
Some popular myths about how cancer starts and spreads should be debunked. Many of them are rooted in old theories. The trouble is that these wrong ideas can lead to unnecessary worry, delay diagnoses and affect treatment results.