A retired army officer came to me and he was diagnosed as having tumours in the liver and needed chemotherapy. He had two sons, a software engineer in Australia and another a banker in London. One of his sons brought him to me. I explained everything and planned chemotherapy which he wanted to take in Delhi. The son wanted to talk to me alone and sent his father out. He then asked me, “Should I isolate my father to protect my son who is fond of his grandfather and wants to play with him. When I suggested this to my father, he was not very happy and so also my mother.” I stared with disbelief that such an educated, well placed person should be asking such an ignorant question.
Let me tell you categorically that cancer is not contagious. As explained in my earlier blogs, it is just the body’s own cells going abnormal and going out of control. It would be criminal for the family to deny the patient love and affection needed most at that time. I was firm on explaining to the son that he can go back to Australia and leave his mother and father together to cope up and share and support each other.
In fact, cancer is possibly safer than other disease like multi drug resistant TB and many others that have limited treatment. There are only specific diseases like Hepatitis B & C which can be transmitted to others in the family and produce viral infections to the liver which may lead to cancer.
Millions of healthcare professionals across the world involved in cancer care would be a population with high risk and nothing happens to them. This is one of the biggest myths and please be assured that cancer is not contagious.