Myth Busters (Myths and Truths)

MYTH: A widely held but false belief or idea

Don’t get caught believing a myth. Be in the know about myths passed on about Non-communicable Diseases. Continue reading below for some of these common Myths.

Sickle Cell Disease

Myth: SCD is contagious.

Fact: SCD is a genetically inherited disease. As such it is not an infection.

Myth: Only people of African descent have SCD

Fact: SCD is not a “black person” disease. While more common in African descent, it is seen to occur in other races.

Myth: People with SCD only live to their 20s.

Fact: Persons with SCD do not all die young. The average lifespan of person severely affected by SCD is 10 years less than persons without SCD. This is approximately 55 years old.

Myth: Women with SCD are infertile.

Fact: Women with SCD have normal fecundity. That is, they are able to get pregnant. It must be noted however that they have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.


Myth: Cervical cancer cannot be treated

Fact: Cervical Cancer can be treated and even cured if diagnosed early.

Myth: Older women do not need Pap Smears.

Fact: All women aged 21 to 64 need a regular Pap Smear and for those aged 30+ years, they may also do HPV testing.

Myth: I’m not sexually active now…so I don’t need to do a Pap Smear.

Fact: Even if you are not currently sexually active you must still do regular Pap Smears.

Myth: Lung Cancer is the only cancer that is associated with tobacco use.

Fact: Tobacco use is a risk factor for a number of cancers including cervical cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.


Myth: If you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t have hypertension.

Fact: This is far from the truth. A local survey showed that that 4 out of 10 Jamaicans with raised blood pressure were unaware of their condition. This is why Hypertension is often called “the silent killer” – because persons with high blood pressure that show no symptoms can suddenly have a heart attack or stroke.

Myth: When medication brings your blood pressure down, you can stop taking them.

Fact: Absolutely not! Continue to take your medication even when your blood pressure is controlled, or else when you stop taking them, your blood pressure will get high again. There is no cure for Hypertension, so you may need to take medication every day for the rest of your life, unless your doctor advises you to stop taking them.

Myth: Only the doctor or nurse should check your blood pressure.

Fact: While getting your blood pressure checked by your health care provider is important, persons with hypertension should learn to monitor their blood pressure at home with a device that is approved by your health care provider.

Keeping a blood pressure journal that tracks changes over time is also highly recommended so that you can show your doctor at your next check-up, to help with making decisions about your treatment.


Myth: Persons with Diabetes can’t eat or drink anything with sugar.

Fact: This is not true. Sugar and starch is a source of energy that everyone, including persons with Diabetes, needs in their daily diet. Persons with diabetes need to eat a healthy diet that is balanced, which can include sugar and starch in moderation.

Myth: Only adults can get type 2 Diabetes.

Fact: While it is true that persons can develop Type 2 Diabetes as they get older, in recent years more and more children and adolescents have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes because of an increase in overweight and obesity, unhealthy eating habits and decreased physical activity in this age group.

Myth: If you are already at risk of getting Diabetes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

Fact: Changing your lifestyle – healthy eating, increased physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, regular check-ups – can delay or prevent the development of Type 2 Diabetes in persons that have risk factors. This is also true for persons with Pre-diabetes.