Breast Cancer – Myths vs Facts
Breast Cancer Awareness has been a crucial concern for nations across the globe. While the diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening, it is important to understand that many of the known risk factors, such as genetics or ageing are beyond our control. As you read information, it is important to know what is right and what isn’t. For Breast Cancer too, there are multiple misconceptions that need correcting.
Read below to know the most common myths against breast cancer and the facts behind them.
Myth: Being at risk means there’s nothing much you can do but watch for sign
Fact: Like we mentioned earlier, there are some breast cancer risk factors that you have no control over, like your age and family history. There are certain risk factors that can be addressed i.e. timely and natural pregnancy and proper and adequate lactation. In addition, there are certain lifestyle habits you should follow, that can significantly reduce your odds, including sleeping regularly, eating well, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, Reduce stress – It’s important to note that breast cancer risk is linked to increased levels of estrogen, and fat tissue produces excess amounts of it.
Myth: Breast lumps are cancerous.
Fact: While it’s unarguably important for you to see the doctor as soon as possible if you find something unusual in one of your breasts, in a number of cases, lump in breasts are not cancerous. Only 20 % of the lumps are cancerous. However, if the lump persists, it should never be ignored. Ensure that you do regular self-examination and also get an annual clinical exam done.
Myth: Wearing deodorant increases risk of getting breast cancer
Fact: It has been shared in a report by the National Cancer Institute that there’s no conclusive evidence linking the use of antiperspirants or deodorants, and the development of breast cancer. Other research studies have further suggested that since breast cancer risk is linked to increased levels of estrogen. aluminium-based compounds in Paraben creams used for controlling sweat that are applied frequently near the breast may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like effects.
Myth: Wearing an underwire bra increases a woman’s breast cancer risk
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support this rumour. Bras do not obstruct the drainage of lymph fluid from the bottom of the breast so there’s no such boost to the risk of breast cancer.
Myth: Bumping or bruising the breast
Fact: This might come across as one of those old-school myths but bumping or bruising the breast is not known to cause breast cancer. However, it may be able to draw attention to an existing lump. An underlying lump which causes a bump or bruise represents an advanced stage breast cancer.
Myth: Your dad’s family cancer history doesn’t affect your risk
Fact: The hereditary variety of Breast Cancer is not sex linked – it can pass from either mother or father’s side. The chances of the affected gene to pass from one generation to the other is 50% and the chances of it being present in a sibling if a person has the affected gene is again 50%. Apart from Breast cancer itself the hereditary linkage is also to Ovary, Peritoneal malignancy.
When evaluating family history, the male side should be considered. A history of breast cancer from the father’s side can, as a matter of fact, boost your risk. Even though the connection between a family history of prostate cancer and breast cancer is unknown, the possible signs include shared lifestyle factors or gene mutations.
Myth: The longer you breastfeed, the lower the risk
Fact: It’s not the breastfeeding, it’s the fact you don’t have periods. It’s the cyclical month after month. The more periods you have in your lifetime, the higher you are at risk of getting signs of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in pregnant and postpartum women. When women are pregnant or breastfeeding, their breasts are naturally more tender and enlarged, which may make it harder to find a lump or notice other changes.
Myth: Tobacco smoke has nothing to do with breast cancer
Fact: Tobacco is the greatest preventable cause of cancer and while lung cancer is the main cancer linked to tobacco exposure, it has also been linked to breast cancer. The carbon in the smoke binds to the estrogen receptor which causes increase in Breast Cancer
Visit Dr. Rohan Khandelwal, The Breast Cancer Specialist at the CK Birla Hospital in Gurgaon to learn more about Breast Cancer and treatment options available. Book an appointment here.
ALSO READ | Breast Cancer Symptoms & Warning Signs
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