World Cancer Day: Debunk the Myths


The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently warned that a global cancer 'tidal wave' is on it's way, citing alcohol and sugar as major factors. They added that smoking, obesity and drinking should be tackled as part of a "real need" to focus on prevention.

Delayed Misdiagnosis

It is with this in mind that we look back on World Cancer Day which was on February 4th. The theme concentrated on debunking the myths surrounding cancer and giving people more general knowledge about the disease.

This campaign will also help raise awareness about the support patients should get from their health professionals.

What are the Most Common Cancers?

In 2011 according to Cancer Research, the most common cancers were:

  • Breast
  • Lung
  • Prostate
  • Bowel

These 4 particular cancers also account for half of all new cases in the UK. Even the most common cancers are still surrounded by myths, leaving people misinformed about the facts and unaware of their rights to cancer treatment.

Myths Stripped Bare

The campaign has concentrated on 4 myths from a global perspective to make it easier for people to digest. These myths are:

  • We don’t need to talk about cancer
  • Cancer… There are no signs or symptoms
  • There is nothing I can do about cancer
  • I don’t have a right to cancer care

The thought that there is nothing we can do about cancer is wrong – things can be done from an individual, community and policy level. In addition, GPs can help by screening for, diagnosing and treating cancer in the correct way.

What if My Cancer was Missed?

There are over 200 different types of cancer and each one of those has its own symptoms. However, one thing that cannot be denied is that if you suffer a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis it can have a significant effect on your future.

Marguarita Tyne, Partner at Simpson Millar LLP, agrees that "sadly we have experience across a range of cancers, regarding patients who have presented early with symptoms to their GP. They are then either falsely reassured or not referred on, for potentially life saving investigations. By the time a diagnosis is made, often the condition has changed from being treatable to terminal."

"This is tragic in any circumstance but we see cases where patients with young families are let down by doctors and the consequences for them and their families are devastating. Where a previously treatable condition is terminal this may lead to a claim for dependency for those left behind."

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