Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer in women around the world. Millions of women across the world are diagnosed with it every year and the numbers continue to rise with each passing year.
Breast cancer has a no direct cause. However, there are several factors that may put you at an increased risk of breast cancer. For example, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, obesity, family history of breast cancer, and spontaneous genetic mutations are some of the factors that may put you at an increased risk of the disease. Breast cancer prevention is an option but there is hardly anything you can do when the genetic mutation runs in the family and is inherited from parents.
Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is NOT the number one killer in women. There are several such myths associated with breast cancer that women continue to believe and this article talks about some of the most common breast cancer myths that people must stop believing, starting today.
Myth #1: Breast cancer gene is always inherited
Fact: No, sometimes mutations may take place spontaneously
Genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are responsible for the repair of damaged cells and to keep cells in the ovaries, breasts, and other areas healthy. However, when there is a genetic mutation in these genes, they lose their functionality and as a result, the cells in the breast may become cancerous in some cases.
This mutation is mostly inherited in the families. However, that does not mean that it is always inherited and run in the families. A woman with no family history of breast cancer can also develop this mutation because of certain reasons.
Myth #2: Only older women get breast cancerous
Fact: Even women as young as in their later 20s can develop breast cancer
Even though it is more common among older women, it does not mean that breast cancer only affects them. Younger women, especially those aged between 20 and 40, are affected rarely but they are as likely to develop breast cancer as the older women.
Myth #3: All breast cancer lumps are cancerous
Fact: Lumps can be benign or non-cancerous as well-being
In fact, almost 80 percent of the lumps diagnosed in a woman's breast are non-cancerous. Therefore, there is no need to panic if you discover a lump in your breast – there is a high possibility that it is a benign growth or a cyst.
Myth #4: Women with small breasts are least likely to develop breast cancer
Fact: They are as likely to develop breast cancer as women with large breast size
There is no evidence that suggests that women with smaller breast size are less likely to develop cancer as compared to women with larger breast size. Breast cancer does not depend on the size of the breast but it does depend on the density of the breast tissue. Even women with smaller breast size can have dense breast tissue. Breast density is measured using a specialized exam called a mammogram.
Myth #5: Men do not ever get breast cancer
Fact: Men can develop breast cancer too
Even though it is rare, breast cancer is diagnosed in males too. Men possess a small amount of breast tissue and the cells in the tissue can undergo mutation and form cancer. Therefore, it is important to see the doctor if any changes in the breast size, shape, color, or appearance are noticed or if a lump forms in the breast. Nearly 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
Myth #6: Aluminium-based antiperspirants may cause breast cancer
Fact: There is no connection between breast cancer occurrence and the use of antiperspirants
It has been in the news for over two decades that antiperspirants can trigger changes in the breast tissue and cause breast cancer. However, there is no truth to that. Antiperspirants by no way block the sweat channels or seep into them to trigger changes in the cells of the breasts. A study conducted back in 2002 confirmed that there is no link between the use of antiperspirants and incidence of breast cancer.
Myth #7: Complete breast removal is the only feasible treatment for breast cancer
Fact: No, complete breast removal is not conducted in all patients
The treatment plan that your surgeon prepares is based on your overall health and the stage and type of breast cancer that you have. The technology has advanced so much in the last few decades that now it is possible to eliminate cancer without the complete removal of the breast.
Depending on how extensive the cancer is, surgeons may decide to conduct partial mastectomy, breast-conserving surgery, or nipple-conserving surgery. The idea is to remove the maximum number of cancer cells while ensuring minimal breast removal. Even if a few cancer cells are left, they are killed off after the surgery through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.