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Top 15 myths about breast cancer

Last updated on: September 15, 2011 09:30 IST

Top 15 myths about breast cancer

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Lifemojo.com

Do you believe in these myths about breast cancer without knowing what the truth is. We bust 15 common myths about breast cancer.

Pinning up the famous Pink Ribbon with your dress or tying the same around your wrist will stand as a style statement only unless you know the true meaning of it! In a nutshell, you may say that the pink ribbon stands for breast cancer awareness. This is what your little daughter is also aware of!

Knowing the meaning of the pink ribbon is not comprehensive till you bother to know about this disease in a greater detail. And this is where we lag behind. Sheer fear and a sense of "insecurity" creeps into our mind as we try to probe further! This sudden discontinuation leaves us with the half-truths! And these misconceptions then assume the form of myths and start circulating in the atmosphere. And see, this is not something about a common and funny "Who's Who?" topic! This is about breast cancer, which keeps on haunting women in the deeper core of their minds!

Here are the top 15 myths about breast cancer

Myth #1: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

Fact: Till date no research has been able to link breast cancer with the use of antiperspirants. Some studies performed on tissue samples collected from breast cancer sufferers have revealed the presence of parabens in those tissues.

These chemical substances called parabens are used to make antiperspirants. But there is no clear link that can connect breast cancer with the use of deodorants.

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Myth #2: I don't have to worry about getting breast cancer since I don't have any of the risk factor.

Fact: Just being a woman and getting older are the greatest risk factors for breast cancer.

Additional risk factors include family history, early menarche, late menopause, late pregnancy or no pregnancy, diet and alcohol consumption.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. About 70% of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors.

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Myth #3: Breast cancer does not run in my family, so I can't get it.

Fact: Anyone having breast tissues, is at a risk irrespective of their genders. However, women has a higher risk.

Increasing age further adds to this risk. If someone of your bloodline has had the disease, then your risk increases in comparison to others with no such family history.

Check with your physician, discuss about your family history and try to play safe.

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Myth #4: Only older women have the possibility to suffer from breast cancer.

Fact: The risk increases with age, but young women (birth to 39-year-old) may also contract it. The risk is four per cent in women in the age group of 40 to 59 while it is 7% in women between the ages of 60 to 79. For those living up to 90 years, the risk becomes 14.3%.

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Myth #5: Birth control pills may lead to breast cancer.

Fact: Previously, the birth control pills included a higher hormonal dosage to decrease the chances of conception, but the same created only a slightly greater risk. But the birth control pills of today come with lower doses of estrogen and progesterone.

This does not lead to a high risk of breast cancer. Seek your doctor's advice on your birth control pill usage.

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Myth #6: Detecting a breast lump means you are suffering from breast cancer.

Fact: If you find an importunate breast lump or if you spot a change in the breast tissue, then it is extremely important for you to see your doctor immediately. Around 8 out of 10 breast lumps are benign.

Sometimes women avoid medical care because they worry about the findings. Take your own initiative by conducting regular breast self-exams, setting up regular communication with your physician and by arranging mammograms on a regular basis.

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Myth #7: A mammogram can lead to the proliferation of breast cancer.

Fact: A mammogram or a breast X-ray is an effective tool for breast cancer diagnosis. It does not lead to a spread of the cancer! And the pressure exerted on the breast from the mammogram is also not capable of spreading the disease.

As per the American College of Radiology the benefits of annual mammograms exceed the ill-effects of minute radiation that may come out during the screening process.

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Myth #8: Breast cancer is infectious.

Fact: You cannot contract breast cancer or pass it on to some other person's body. The disease occurs due to uncontrollable cell growth in your own body.

But, you can save yourself by learning about the risk factors and by opting for an early detection strategy.

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Myth #9: Becoming aware of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene changes can help you stay protected from breast cancer.

Fact: You cannot catch breast cancer or transfer it to someone else's body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth in your own body. The American Cancer Society informs that majority of women (around 90 to 95%) suffering from breast cancer have neither a family history nor mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

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Myth #10: Breast cancer runs in my family and I will definitely get it at some point of time.

Fact: You are a unique individual composed with a combination of genetic traits. Even if you carry breast cancer genes, you can regulate some aspects of your health.

A healthy diet, regular exercises, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can all lower your breast cancer risk.

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Myth #11: Giving birth to kids and breastfeeding is a sure-shot protection against breast cancer.

Fact: It is a fact that having at least 2 pregnancies before you turn 30 and breastfeeding your offspring can decrease your breast cancer risk, but it does not guarantee a complete protection.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk. Go for frequent screenings and yearly checkups with your physician to stay on the safer side.

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Myth #12: Men do not get breast cancer.

Fact: It has been estimated that approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and around 450 will die each year.

While this percentage is still small, men should also opt for regular breast self-exams and inform their doctors about the changes in their breasts.

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Myth #13: Breast cancer can be prevented.

Fact: An anti-estrogen drug called Tamoxifen, may reduce breast cancer risk in some women, but the cause of the disease still remains unknown and it cannot be prevented entirely. The real key for a survival lies in early diagnosis and treatment.

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Myth #14: The diagnosis of breast cancer is the same as a death sentence.

Fact: Breast cancer is more accurately detected and treated at an early stage, before it spreads, as compared to 20 and 25 years ago.

Now, 80% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and who do not have any metastasis (spread of cancer) will survive at least 5 years beyond their diagnosis, and many may live even longer than that.

Even if the cancer has spread, new treatments and therapies can help improve survival rates and quality of life. Early detection stands as a prerequisite.

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Myth #15: Wearing an underwire bra may lead to breast cancer.

Fact: The rumour suggests that underwire bras block the lymph system, so toxins get accumulated in the breast tissue, causing cancer. This assumption cannot be accepted from the biological point of view.

A decrease in blood flow (uncommon with a bra) or increased pressure cannot create 'toxicity' in the breasts and hence, cannot cause malignancy.

It really feels nice to get the attention that we as women, deserve! It's always so special to stay highlighted. And with all that attention and care showered at us, we can definitely get motivated to do something that will really earn us appreciations! Some courage and a positive attitude are all that we require!



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