The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month serves as an annual campaign to increase awareness of about breast cancer, which largely affects people. Breast cancer develops from breast tissue which is a result of many risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, hormone replacement therapy, alcohol, old age etcetera. The early signs of breast cancer include lump in the breast, change in shape of the breast, dimpling of the skin around the breast and fluid coming from the nipple. Although many women go through the painful experience of this disease, women can reduce the risk of cancer by being physically active, consuming fewer amounts of alcohol and breastfeeding. Although a lot has been told about this disease to spread awareness about the same, there is lot of myths surrounding breast cancer. We will help you with debunking some of the commonly heard breast cancer myths.
1. Family history
Although family history of breast cancer is a well establish risk factor, it is not the only risk factor. Women who don’t have a family history of breast cancer can also have the disease. Pnly 10 per cent of breast cancer patients get the disease because of family history. Women should understand that irrespective of the family history they are vulnerable to the disease, with age they need to make avail of cancer screening tests.
2. Under-wire bras cause breast cancer
This is the myth that most women are afraid of since a lot of women use underwire bras for the lift and support a woman’s breasts need. But breast surgical oncologists say that it is not true. Although there is theory that claims that an underwire bra reduces lymphatic drainage and increase breast cancer risk. The myth is not based on any data.
3. Don’t use antiperspirants
Some of the posts on the internet suggest that underarm antiperspirants can cause breast cancer. But there is no study that suggests the link between the two. Although high concentration of toxins leads to cells mutating into cancer, but that does not suggest that using antiperspirants can lead to breast cancer.
4. Radiation from screening tests
Women believe that the radiation from screening tests causes breast cancer. But the radiation dose in a mammogram test is even less than that is emitted in a standard chest X-ray. Low level does not increase breast cancer risk. Also MRI and ultrasound scans contain no radiation.
5. Older women are at risk
Although increasing age is a risk factor when it comes to breast cancer, but only age is not the parameters of judging the occurrence of this disease. Young women are also equally vulnerable to breast cancer; it can be diagnosed for women at any age. (Breast Cancer Awareness: Why are Indian women afraid to touch their breasts?)
6. Abortion and miscarriage
Women believe that abortion and miscarriage increases the risk of breast cancer. But there is no study that support this myth, although there have been evidences wherein having children before turning 30 cuts down the risk of breast cancer, the myth about abortion and miscarriage is false. (ALSO READ: Breastfeeding may expose babies to toxic chemicals linked with cancer?)
7. Large breasts develop breast cancer
Women have wrongly believed that those with large breasts are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. The size of one’s breast cannot be directly proportional to the risk of breast cancer. Dense breasts have an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer, but it is not the only way to detect breast cancer in women.
8. Men can’t get breast cancer
Who said men can’t be diagnosed with breast cancer? There have been over 2,000 cases of men with male breast cancer in US every year. Although it is rare, but it is not impossible, so you need not completely believe that men cannot have breast cancer. The signs are the same; nipple discharge, lumps, swelling, skin dimpling or puckering. (ALSO READ: #HoldACokeWithYourBoobsChallenge: Cancer survivor Aimee Fletcher gives a middle finger to campaign holding Coke with Boobs)