Cancer myths

You may have heard lots of different things about cancer from friends and family, or on the internet and TV. But don't believe everything you hear! We have dealt with some of the more common myths about cancer below.

"Cancer is an old person's disease"

Actually, it's not. There isn’t just one type of cancer, there are lots of them – and they can affect children, young people and adults alike.

"I did something to cause it"

No, you didn't. It's absolutely not your fault. There are lots of theories about what causes cancer in young people, but there isn’t one definite answer. However, you can be sure that nothing you did (or didn’t do) caused your illness.

"You can catch cancer"

Cancer is not contagious. You can spend as much time with your loved ones as you want. Touching and hugging are fine too – you can’t pass on cancer.

"Cancer changes everything"

While it's true cancer can impact on many aspects of your life, such as changes your physical appearance and your routine, it's important to remember that you’re still the same person. Depending on your treatment, you may be able to keep going to classes or work. Even if you’re in hospital, staying in touch with your friends and doing activities you enjoy can help you through this time.

"Cancer = game over"

Actually, most young people with cancer do get better. In general, the cancers that affect younger people respond more positively to treatment than those that affect older people. Your recovery will depend on the type of cancer you have, how severe it is, the treatment you need and your response to this treatment. If you have questions or worries about your particular cancer, speak to your consultant.

Get reliable info and advice

Ask your care team

If you have a question or you are worried about something that we haven’t covered here, talk to one of the health professionals involved in your treatment or a CLIC Sargent nurse or social worker. They are very used to answering questions and are sure to have heard it before!

Read high-quality information

CLIC Sargent has a range of publications, specifically for young people, to help you get through your cancer diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. We also have plenty of guidance throughout our website. Always look for the Information Standard logo (like the one on the side of this page!).

Join our online community

Our online community is a friendly digital space for 16 to 24-year-olds to share experiences, make friends, find useful information and support each other through difficult times.

Where next?

Updated February 2017, next review due February 2018.

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