Misconceptions and incorrect information about breast cancer can cause women more anxiety than necessary. So, let's debunk some of the most common myths about breast cancer.
If I do not have a family history of breast cancer, I will not get it.
Fact: Only about 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Lifestyle and environmental factors can have an impact on breast cancer risk.
The bigger the breast, the higher the risk of getting breast cancer.
Fact: Having large breasts or small breasts do not affect your risk for developing breast cancer. Breast cancer develops in the cells that line ducts or lobules. Women of all breast sizes have the same amount of these.
Under-wired bra, antiperspirant and powder can cause breast cancer.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to show that any of these can cause breast cancer.
If you have no symptoms in your breasts, it means you do not have breast cancer.
Fact: Many people diagnosed with breast cancer have no symptoms. In addition to self-examinations and annual breast exams, you should have regular mammograms if you fall in the recommended age range for screening.
Breast cancer only occurs in middle age women.
Fact: Breast cancer can occur at any age. The risk of breast cancer increases as we grow older.
Radiation from mammogram can cause breast cancer.
Fact: The risk of harm from radiation exposure through mammogram is very low. The benefits of early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in reducing mortality outweighs the risk of the small dose of radiation received during a mammogram.
Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: Not all lumps in the breast are cancer. However, if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored.
Men do not get breast cancer.
Fact: While breast cancer is more common in women than men, there is still a possibility for men to get breast cancer.
Mastectomy (surgical removal of the whole breast) is the only way to treat breast cancer.
Fact: When the cancer is detected early, only the cancerous area needs to be surgically removed. This means the rest of the breast is preserved. Therefore, mastectomy is not the only option.
Breast cancer is contagious.
Fact: Breast cancer is due to a change in the cells and not due to virus/bacteria, therefore it is not contagious.