Myth: Exposing cancer to the air and environment through biopsy or surgery will cause it to spread. Fact: &ldquo;I absolutely hear this from people all the time,&rdquo; says Joel Mayerson, MD, an oncology surgeon and director of the OSUCCC &ndash; James Sarcoma Program. &ldquo;A patient will say they don&rsquo;t want a biopsy or surgery because it will spread their cancer. This [myth] is potentially harmful for people because it could allow their cancer to become more advanced before they start care.&rdquo; Biopsies are especially important &ldquo;because that&rsquo;s the only way we can determine what type of cancer a patient has,&rdquo; Mayerson says. The &ldquo;air and cancer&rdquo; myth originated several decades ago, before the development of the more sophisticated scanning devices now used to accurately measure the extent of patients&rsquo; cancers before biopsies or surgical procedures. Back then, &ldquo;we didn&rsquo;t have a good way to look inside a patient&rsquo;s body and see how far the cancer had progressed,&rdquo; Mayerson says. The surgeon would operate on a patient and discover the cancer was in a later stage, had metastasized and spread throughout the body and was often inoperable. &ldquo;After surgery, the cancer would progress quickly and the myth developed that the biopsy or surgery was the cause, rather than the reality that the surgery was documenting how far it had already spread,&rdquo; Mayerson says. &ldquo;The advent of CT scans in the late 1970s and MRIs in the early 1980s allowed us to see how far the cancer had advanced before surgery.&rdquo; Nevertheless, this myth has persisted.