Busting Breast Cancer Myths
breast cancer facts and fiction
There are plenty of myths and supposed cure-alls out there for how to both prevent breast cancer and stop it from spreading. The truth is, there is nothing that can officially prevent breast cancer from forming, but it’s important to differentiate the myths from reality. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding breast cancer.
Every lump is not cancerous. If you do find a lump during a self-exam or even during a mammogram, don’t automatically assume the worst. Of course, it’s still important to get it checked out, but the majority of lumps turn out to be benign.
If a relative, such as a mother or aunt, was diagnosed with breast cancer, this does not mean you will automatically get the disease too. Although certain genes have been linked to cancer, 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed women report having a relative who was also diagnosed. The best thing you can do if breast cancer has previously affected your family is to get tested earlier.
Using antiperspirants and deodorants has not been shown raising your risk for breast cancer. This is a widespread theory that has never quite been proven, but if you are concerned, you can try using all natural deodorants.
Breast cancer can show itself in many forms, and a lump is not always the first sign. Other symptoms like breast swelling, scaliness of the skin, or a lump in your underarm are all also possible symptoms—but are not always related to cancer.
Mammograms are regulated by the FDA, and as such, the risks associated with them and other screening tests using radiation are monitored very heavily. There is no increased risk of developing breast cancer from receiving a mammogram alone.
The same goes for wearing a bra. The myth that wearing a bra with underwire raises your risk of breast cancer is completely false.
Getting breast implants will also not likely raise your risk for developing cancer. They can, however, make any mass that could potentially exist slightly harder to detect in a routine mammogram.
Regularly self-screening is a great way to ensure early detection, especially for younger people, but is not a replacement for a routine check-up by your doctor.
Just because you are young, however, does not mean you are immune to breast cancer. Thousands of women under the age of 45 are diagnosed with the disease every year.
The idea that men can’t get breast cancer is simply not true. More than 2,000 men receive a breast cancer diagnosis every year, so it’s important for men to self-screen too, and be aware of any changes.
All of these facts can be found at www.breastcancer.org.