Myths to banish

Rumors, beliefs, stories about leukemia that spread without anyone knowing where they came from. Cancer is not a game, and it is essential that everyone is provided with real and truthful information about it. We are going to tell you some myths to banish forever.

MITH NUMBER 1: “Living or working near telephone antennas, power lines and similar facilities causes leukemia”

Several studies have been published examining the possible relationship between radio frequency transmitters and cancer. No evidence has been found that exposure to such waves increases the risk of cancer. Geographically, cancer is unevenly distributed in any population. An increase in cancer detection in the vicinity of these facilities may occur simply by chance or by the widespread presence of these facilities in inhabited territories.

This is a very popular myth, but without any scientific basis.

MITH NUMBER 2: “Many childhood cancers could have been avoided if parents had been more careful or attentive to their children’s health”

When a child or adolescent is diagnosed with cancer, parents often wonder what they did to get sick or whether they took precautions to prevent it.


Despite the continuing and intense research on childhood cancer over the past few years, it is not clear what causes cancer in children and adolescents. It is important to keep in mind that it can be diagnosed both in healthy children, as well as with other previous illnesses, and in children who are well “cared for” by their parents or children who have not received adequate care.


Children are not small adults. Their illness differs from adults’ ones, especially in the influence that diet, lifestyle and environment can have on the development of these illnesses in adults.

There is no scientific evidence that any human behavior can cause childhood cancer.

MITH NUMBER 3: “Displeasure or intense suffering from an event or situation can cause leukemia in children”

It has become a popular belief that going through traumatic or stressful situations can determine the direct onset of leukemia. And although in certain cases it can be observed that the disease appears after potentially stressful situations for children and adolescents,

there is no scientific evidence of this direct association.

On the other hand, no increased incidence of leukemias has been found in children under stress, compared to children who have not been in such situations.

Leukemia is a sudden onset disease that cannot be prevented or avoided, that is why it is called acute. It is a biological process that is triggered at some point in the evolution, without the possibility of anticipating it.
Today, the specific outset is still unknown, but we do know that there is no direct relationship with any particular cause, but that it is a multifactorial disease.

MITH NUMBER 4: “Food is a key element in cancer. If it is bad, it can cause it, and if it is good, it can cure it.”

A complete and balanced diet is important for the optimal development of life in general. But its quality in itself is not decisive for the appearance of a disease like leukemia.


In fact, cancer can develop in well-nourished children and in children with nutritional problems, both malnourished and overweight. No serious scientific studies have found a link between nutrition and cancer in children.


During treatment, children and adolescents should follow certain rules regarding the type of food they eat or the ways they cook and hygiene, especially to avoid adverse effects or complications from interactions with the medications they take.

A good eating plan can contribute positively to the development and tolerance of chemotherapy treatment but cannot replace it.

MITH NUMBER 5: “Marrow donation for leukemia patients can cause donor paralysis”

There is a fairly common confusion between the bone marrow and the spinal cord. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside bones where blood is produced. The spinal cord, on the other hand, is a cylindrical structure inside the spine that connects the brain to the nervous system.


Leukemia patients need hematopoietic stem cells from donors who are compatible with them. These cells are found in the bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, especially.


Two procedures can be used to remove them from the bone marrow: either by puncturing the iliac crests or by removing them directly from the bloodstream. The first procedure is simple and its major risk is the anesthesia used to perform it. Direct collection, also called cytapheresis, carries no risk to the donor, except for the inconvenience of the procedure, which requires a connection to equipment that performs the stem cell collection.


In addition, the donor must always be evaluated beforehand to avoid subjecting him to any risk. This is a fundamental premise for the donation.

Donating bone marrow, therefore, has nothing to do with either the spine or the nervous system of the human body

MITH NUMBER 6: “I can ask for bone marrow donations for my leukemia-stricken son/daughter”

In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of social media campaigns calling for bone marrow when a patient needs it. While the most popular requests have led to an increase in registrations on the global donor network, it must be made clear that no one can register on the network as a donor to a particular person. This registry is defined for Altruistic Donation, which means that once a person has registered as a voluntary donor, he or she can be requested for any person who is compatible with him or her.


The marrow transplant must be performed at a given clinical time, and there is almost no chance of finding a compatible donor by this method.


It is easier to search for a related donor among your blood relatives and unrelated donors among the 33 million donors worldwide already registered.

Whoever registers as a donor must be willing to donate to anyone in the world who needs it without knowing who it will be

MITH NUMBER 7: “Children with leukemia pose a threat to others because they can infect them.”

No one can get cancer from contact with another person. Cancer is not contagious, nor can it be transmitted. However, it should be noted that children who receive chemotherapy and/or radiation have a weakened immune system and therefore are at risk of being infected by viruses, bacteria, or other germs that could make them severely ill and cause complications. That is why they often wear masks for their own protection.

The use of these masks has generated this myth in some regions of the world. However, it must be made very clear that…

cancer patients wear masks to protect themselves from external infections, not to protect others.

MITH NUMBER 8: “If a child has leukemia, it’s better that he doesn’t know it.”

Children and adolescents have the right to be informed of both the diagnosis of their illness and their treatment plan and the possible consequences thereof. Of course, it is important that the information is appropriate to their developmental stage and agreed with their parents and caregivers.

Even preverbal children perceive changes in their bodies, in their environment and in the daily dynamics, so they need the adults around them to be able to put into words what is happening to them.

A child who is uninformed and perceives a discordance between what is being said and what is happening to him may begin to lose confidence in those who are his main supporters, and feel alone in the face of such a challenge.

For younger children, the name of the disease is just a formality, a convention. They need clear and concrete information, according to their age, that gives meaning to what they are living in their own flesh and need to go through.

In the case of adolescents, the diagnosis may have different connotations. In addition, the fact of having access to information on the Internet, for example, may generate more doubts and confusion. That is why it is extremely important that they receive the information first hand, that is to say from their treating physicians, and that the physician is willing to cross-examine the patient, and to give him/her honest and concrete answers.

It is important to tell them the truth, respecting the family style and the communication resources available to them.

MITH NUMBER 9: “Childhood leukemia can be cured with treatments other than allopathic/traditional medicine.”

First of all, we must differentiate between complementary and alternative treatments.

Complementary methods are used alongside regular medical care. On the other hand, alternative treatments are those used as a substitute for the treatment indicated by the doctor.


While some of these methods may help relieve symptoms or help patients feel better, most of them have not been proven to be effective. Some of them may even be very dangerous for the patient and should never replace medical treatments.

Be wary of complementary and alternative methods that claim to cure cancer and suggest giving up medical treatment. Remember that the treatments that manage to improve the results of the cancer are presented and published in scientific events and serious publications of the specialty.

Treatments that have been shown to fight cancer safely are already covered by traditional medicine.


Always consult with your doctor before applying a complementary treatment.

MITH NUMBER 10: “The best cure for leukemia is for the child to maintain an optimistic attitude and think positively.”

Each child and adolescent will have a style of coping with his or her illness and treatment according to the age, personality and previous history.

There are no universal rules about how to get through treatment. However, we do know the importance of promoting recreational and educational spaces, as well as legitimizing expressions of anger, sadness and opposition.

The hospitalization of children and adolescents exposes them to norms, procedures, punctures, prolonged hospitalization, changes in body image due to the effects of treatment, and loss of intimacy that will undoubtedly affect them. It is therefore healthy for children to express their anger or sadness in the face of the invasion of situations that have altered their daily lives.

Denying suffering does not make it go away. That is why it is important for children to express their feelings about the illness, whether they are positive or not. In any case, nurturing a positive attitude, in many cases, gives the child tools to cope with the disease.

MITH NUMBER 11: “A child with cancer will never become an adult with a full life.”

Children cured of cancer may have a normal life expectancy. Depending on the intensity of treatment received, some children may have side effects. However, they will be able to live a normal life if they receive proper and timely care. In addition, despite their temporary isolation.

childhood cancer survivors have demonstrated their ability to adapt and learn, as well as their ability to resume their social development and function as useful members of society.


Most of them live as normal a life as their parents. They only need to receive the proper checks and care to maintain a good quality of life and an education in healthy habits.