One of the most famous and talked-about cancers is breast cancer. Yet there are many misconceptions about it, especially when it comes to who can have breast cancer and why.
The misconceptions have made it very hard for people to differentiate between the myths and facts about this type of cancer. As many have bought into these myths already.
Let’s look at some of these myths and the facts.
Myth: Family History
If no one in my family history has breast cancer, I can’t have breast cancer.
Most people with breast cancer have no known history of cancer in their families. So, even if people believe breast cancer is hereditary, it’s not. Only about 5% or 10% of the cases are. The rest are due to external factors from the workplace, lifestyle, and environment.
Myth: Healthy Living
If I have a healthy weight, eat healthily, and exercise regularly, I will not have cancer.
All these behaviours are very good in lowering your risk of developing breast cancer. But they can’t totally eliminate your chances of getting it.
Wearing brassieres can lead to the development of breast cancer.
There is no proven evidence that wearing brassieres can cause breast cancers.
Using lots of antiperspirants under your arm can lead to breast cancer.
No proven evidence establishes the connection between breast cancers and underarm antiperspirants. However, whether antiperspirants are safe or not is still being studied.
Although rumour has it that chemicals from antiperspirants somehow find their way into the breast cells, increasing the risk of cancer.
Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of developing breast cancer
Many people believe eating too much sugar can lead to cancer. Not just breast cancer, but other cancers as well, because sugar is believed to cause cancer cells to grow faster.
The truth is that sugar does not cause cancer of any kind. Remember that all cells in your body need sugar to grow. Same with cancerous cells. However, cancerous cells, because they grow faster, consume more sugar. But that’s not to say sugar causes cancer.
Myth: Yearly Mammograms
If I do a yearly mammogram, there’s a guarantee that my breast cancer will be detected early.
Mammograms are perfect for detecting breast cancers at an early stage. But, there are cases of false negatives. In those cases, the mammogram fails to detect breast cancer.
This is why it’s possible to have a normal result for your mammogram and a breast cancer diagnosis a few months later. In some cases, some women can even be diagnosed with advanced cancer, even after several normal results on their mammogram.
In addition to a mammogram, we advise that you do regular screening and take note of every breast change by self-examining your breast monthly.
When you have breast cancer, there will be noticeable lumps.
In the first stage of breast cancer, there are usually no lumps that can be felt during a self-examination. So, don’t think about skipping a mammogram because you didn’t feel a lump. There might be no lump.
Remember that self-examining your breast regularly is good, but it doesn’t rule out the need for a mammogram.
Myth: Recurrence of Early Stage cancer
When your breast cancer is still in the early stage, it can not or rarely recurs.
Breast cancers in their early stages are cancers that have not spread past the breast or the lymph nodes in the underarm.
And there’s always a risk that cancer will come back. It doesn’t go away totally.
Although the risks are high in the first 2 to 5 years, they can still recur a long time past these times in some cases.
Breast cancer can often recur locally (breast) or regionally (chest). Or it can recur in the lungs, bones, or liver. This is known as Distant breast cancer recurrence or stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer.
The Bottom Line
These are not all the myths and facts about breast cancers. There are a lot more. And until your doctor says so, don’t go believing what you read, hear, or see on the Internet.