Myths About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer, or any cancer, is rarely discussed. When it is discussed, however, it is not always based on facts. Unless people have had breast cancer or are close to someone who has, they may be unable to distinguish between myth and fact when it comes to this disease, such as who gets it and why, or what treatment entails. It's true that while breast cancer is one of the more well-known and discussed cancers, there are still many misconceptions about it.

4 common myths about breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the top five cancers affecting men and women. The good news? You can do several things to reduce your risk, detect early signs, and catch symptoms while the disease is still highly treatable. We can start by debunking some common breast cancer myths.

• MYTH: Breast cancer always causes a lump you can feel.

• MYTH: Breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women.

• MYTH: Wearing a bra can cause breast cancer.

• MYTH: Using underarm antiperspirant can cause breast cancer.

Myth #1: Breast cancer only affects women

Breast cancer affects 1% of males, according to the National Breast Cancer Organisation. While this may appear to be a small number, a lack of awareness among men may result in cancer being diagnosed at an advanced stage, making treatment more difficult. Although their risk of breast cancer is low, it's important that men are aware of the key symptoms, which are typically quicker to spot and more clearly visible in men than in women, because men have less breast tissue. Some of the most common symptoms for men are nipple bleeding, pain, and skin ulceration. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's critical that you see a doctor for a diagnosis.

Myth #2: Wearing a bra causes breast cancer

Media coverage and the internet have occasionally fuelled myths that wearing a bra increases the risk of breast cancer.

Wearing a bra, particularly an underwire style, was thought to restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breast, causing toxic substances to accumulate in the tissue.

There is, however, no evidence to back up this claim.

Myth #3: Breast cancer only happens in older women

It’s true that being a woman and getting older are the two greatest risk factors for developing breast cancer. In 2017, approximately 4% of invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women under the age of 40, 23% in women in their 50s, and 27% in women aged 60 to 69. While 4% may appear insignificant, it is not zero: This percentage means that one in every 25 cases of invasive breast cancer occurred in women under the age of 40.

Myth #4: Mammograms can cause or spread breast cancer

A mammogram is an X-ray of your breast that is the most effective method of detecting breast cancer. While mammograms require a small amount of radiation, the risk of harm is extremely low. The advantages, however, outweigh the risk.

Myth #5: IVF increases the risk of breast cancer

According to research, more than 30 studies have examined whether fertility drugs affect the risk of breast cancer, with no significant increase or decline in risk following IVF (in vitro fertilisation) compared to women who did not receive treatment or the general population.

Myth #6: All lumps in the breast signal breast cancer

There is no need to be alarmed if you discover a lump during a routine self-exam. Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) or scar tissue are responsible for many of these lumps. Other signs of breast cancer include pain, swelling, redness, and skin thickening. Also, always consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts.

Myth #7: If there is no lump, there is no breast cancerr

Because a lump in the breast isn't always visible, most people look for it as the first sign of breast cancer, which can result in a delayed diagnosis. According to the National Breast Cancer Organisation, one in every six women with breast cancer does not develop a lump, so it's important to be aware of other warning signs, which are primarily visual changes and watch for symptoms such as a red rash around the nipple area; a change in size (one breast suddenly appears larger than the other); discharge from the nipple area, and inverted nipples.