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UAE doctors debunk cancer myths, list early warning signs to fight disease

Some of the known causes for cancer include consuming tobacco, alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise, increased consumption of red meat


By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 7:05 PM

UAE doctors say timely intervention is key in fighting cancer - the leading cause of death worldwide, recording nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.

“Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century,” said Dr Arun Karanwal specialist medical oncologist, Prime Hospital.

Dr Cherian Thampy, Specialist Medical Oncology, NMC Speciality Hospital, Abu Dhabi said that there is no one single cause for cancer. “It is the interaction of many factors together that produces cancer. The factors involved may be genetic, environmental, or constitutional characteristics of the individual. These factors can alter and cause some specific genetic mutations.”

“Some of the known causes for cancer include consuming tobacco and alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise, increased consumption of red meat etc,” added Dr Cherian.

Dr Arun Karanwal pointed out some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest
  • Weight loss or gain of 5kg or more for no known reason
  • Not feeling hungry, trouble swallowing, belly pain, or nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling or lumps in the body
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or other parts of the body
  • Pain, especially new or with no known reason, that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • Skin changes such as a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, or a yellowish color to the skin or eyes.
  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Change in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, that doesn’t go away or a change in how your stools look
  • Pain when passing urine, blood in the urine or needing to pass urine more often or less often
  • Fever or nights sweats
  • Headaches
  • Mouth changes such as sores, bleeding, pain, or numbness

Debunking some myths about cancer.

Dr Karanwal also debunked some myths about cancer.

Will eating sugar make cancer worse?

No. Studies have shown that eating sugar will not make your cancer worse or if you stop eating sugar, cancer will shrink or disappear. However, a high-sugar diet may contribute to excess weight gain, and obesity is associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Is cancer contagious?


Can cancer surgery or a tumour biopsy cause cancer to spread in the body?

No. Surgeons use special methods and take many steps to prevent cancer cells from spreading during biopsies or surgery to remove tumours


Do cell phones cause cancer?

Cancer is caused by genetic mutations, and cell phones emit a type of low-frequency energy that does not damage genes

Are there herbal products that can cure cancer?

No. Although some studies suggest that alternative or complementary therapies, including some herbs, may help patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment, no herbal products have been shown to be effective for treating cancer.

In fact, some herbal products may be harmful when taken during chemotherapy or radiation therapy because they may interfere with how these treatments work.

If someone in my family has cancer, am I likely to get cancer, too?

Not necessaril. Cancer is caused by harmful changes (mutations) in genes. Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are caused by harmful mutations that are inherited from a person’s parents.

Cancer disease can be conquered with better awareness, early diagnosis and complete treatment.


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