Are you aware? Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in Indian women. It is one of the most talked about cancers as well. With so much information available about this type of cancer, sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe and what to ignore. So here we are to help you understand about the cancer in a better way by debunking some of the common myths around it and help you maintain your breast health.
5 Most Common Breast Cancer Myths
Myth 1: A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: Only a small percentage of lumps in the breast is cancerous. A lump can be a non-cancerous fibrous growth as well. Consult a doctor for a clinical breast examination. This examination becomes all the more important for lump detection if there is any discharge or change in the size and/or shape of a lump.
Myth 2: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you too will develop the cancer.
Fact: A family history of breast cancer is linked to having a high risk of developing the cancer. But, only about 5–10% of these cancers are believed to be hereditary. In a vast majority of the cancer cases, there is no family history, suggesting that other factors must be at work, such as environment and lifestyle.
Myth 3: Breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women.
Fact: Younger women can and do get breast cancer. Women of all ages need to pay attention to their breasts, perform self breast examination, and report any unusual changes to their doctors. Women with a family history of this type of cancer should start screenings sooner.
Myth 4: Wearing underwire bras can cause breast cancer.
Fact: Those who claim that underwire bras cause cancer persistently maintain that these bras restrict the lymph system, resulting in a build-up of toxins in the breasts. However, there is no scientific evidence that compression of the lymph nodes by bras can cause cancer. In reality, body fluids travel up and into the underarm lymph nodes, not towards the underwire.
Myth 5: Men do not get breast cancer, it affects women only.
Fact: Men can get breast cancer too. It is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry higher mortality than women do, mainly because awareness among men is less. Moreover, they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.
There have been various treatment advances against breast cancer, bringing new hope and excitement for better self care. And, the silver lining is that if detected early, it has high chances of cure.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. This information is for female breast cancers. http://cancerindia.org.in/breast-cancer/