Must Know Myths and Facts about Breast Cancer

5 Must Know Myths and Facts about Breast Cancer

Cancer may be among the most researched of diseases. Ironically this also leads to information overload at times, so much so that myths and misperceptions pass off as facts. That’s why it’s important to filter out the myths from the facts so individuals can know for sure what causes cancer and what is ‘rumoured’ to cause cancer.

What are different breast cancer myths?

The five most prevailing myths about breast cancer are:

  1. Most Breast Cancer Run in Families

    One of the more abiding myths about breast cancer is that it runs in the family. It is assumed that if someone in the family has / had breast cancer, then it would be passed on to others through the hereditary gene.

    Fact – Only about 5% to 10% of breast cancers are considered hereditary. More than 75% of women with breast cancer have no family history.

    This means that breast cancer is more to do with lifestyle and diet among other factors than hereditary / genetic triggers.So even if there is a family history of breast cancer which is something you cannot change anyway, it is more meaningful to focus on what’s in your control like diet and lifestyle.

  2. Risk of Developing Breast Cancer Cannot be Lowered

    Many treat breast cancer risk as a formidable challenge, something you cannot do anything about.

    Fact – This is just not true. You can take steps to prevent cancer. Some lifestyle adjustments that can lower risk of breast cancer include:

  3. Regular Mammograms Prevent Breast Cancer

    Mammography is undertaken by women in the assumption or belief that it prevents cancer or in the least will surely warn about the onset of the disease.

    Fact – Mammography is not a pre-emptive screening test. It detects cancer already present in the patient. Its utility is after contracting of cancer and not before. So if you continue with the screening test it can only be with the objective of finding out whether or not you have cancer and not to prevent cancer.

  4. Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer

    The myth that deodorant causes cancer is rooted in some or all of the following:

    Fact – The contention that antiperspirants cause breast cancer does not stand up to medical scrutiny.

    The Journal of The National Cancer Institute published a study in 2002 involving 1,606 women in a bid to find a link between breast cancer and antiperspirants or deodorants. The study did not reveal an increased risk of cancer amongst deodorant or antiperspirant users, or even amongst women who shaved before using deodorant or antiperspirant.

  5. Birth Control Pills Cause Breast Cancer

    Women using birth control pills are thought to be at greater risk of breast cancer.

    Fact – This is not altogether true.

    A 1996 analysis of over 50 studies worldwide by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer revealed that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who had never used the pill.

    However, 10 or more years after women stopped using oral contraceptives, their risk of developing breast cancer had returned to the same level as if they had never used birth control pills, regardless of family history of breast cancer, reproductive history, among other factors.

    Another analysis based on the Nurses’ Health Study, found that the participants who used oral contraceptives had a slight increase in breast cancer risk. Notably nearly all of the increased risk was seen among women who took a specific type of oral contraceptive, a ‘triphasic’ pill.

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