10 Breast Cancer Myths Debunked

by Dr Amit Jotwani

The internet offers a wide source of information. It is often easy to get lost into a web of misinformation that causes needless concern. As in the case of any fear-inducing information, there are several claims running astray. Here is a list of breast cancer myths that have been doing the rounds. 

Breast Cancer Myths

#1. All breast lumps are cancerous.

No, all breast lumps are not cancerous as there are non-cancer lumps as well.

#2. All breast cancers appear in lumps.

No, breast cancers may appear as:

  • Any skin change, such as redness or thickening 
  • Changes in the nipple — if the nipple was originally outward, it starts retracting inward
  • Changes in the breast skin itself — dimpling, pulling in on different sides

#3. Family history is a risk factor for all breast cancer patients.

No, family history only accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer patients.

#4. Breast cancer is contagious.

No, cancer is not contagious from person to person. Probably the only chance of cancer spreading to another person, though rare, is during organ or tissue transplantations. 

#5. There is nothing you can do to lower the risk of breast cancer.

There are a lot of questions but it is important to eat right, exercise enough, get sufficient sleep and maintain a healthy weight to keep the immunity strong and to fend off any mutant genes.

#6 Deodorant causes breast cancer

There is no clinical evidence that proves antiperspirants cause breast cancer due to toxin build-up or aluminum compounds.

#7. Underwire bras cause breast cancer

No, a 2014 study had looked at the link between breast cancer and bras. There is no scientific evidence of this claim. The same goes for the myth revolving around the risk of cancer if bras are worn at night.

#8. Mammograms prevent breast cancer

Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer but they can help save lives by early detection and treatment. For this reason, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended that routine screening mammograms for women with an average risk of breast cancer should start at the age of 50, and those with a high risk should start at the age of 40.

#9. Breast cancer affects only women

Not true. Men can also develop breast cancer, although the occurrence is very low, less than 1 %.  

#10. Mammograms are dangerous.

Mammograms are a source of radiation much like x-rays and are not dangerous if administered in small amounts and within the approved medical guidelines.

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