Surgical Oncology News

This section features a sampling of news related to surgical oncology from the popular press, from press releases received, or SSO news directly pertinent to SSO members.

Some myths about cancer surgery spread through generations

Author: Dr. Joseph Valentino, Special to the Herald-Leader
Apr 10, 2011

"But Dr. Valentino, if air gets to the cancer, it will spread everywhere!"

In my 18 years of practice at the Markey Cancer Center, I have frequently heard this concern - which is completely without a factual basis - from patients who are worried that having surgery will cause their cancer to spread.

I have practiced medicine in three other states, but I never heard this concern before coming to Kentucky. This concept is apparently passed from generation to generation, affecting the educated and uneducated alike.

In fact, surgery is often the best treatment for many types of cancer, and delaying surgery can itself result in cancer growing and spreading to other parts of the body.

I believe that the myth about air causing cancer to spread comes from repeated experiences with large, extended Kentucky families who struggled with cancer in previous generations....

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