Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women in which malignant cancer cells form in the breast tissues and these mutated cells invade the surrounding tissues as well. 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time, but in rare cases even men can get breast cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Preventive measures such as following a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise along with periodic screening are the best answer to the question of how to avoid breast cancer.
Top 10 Myths and Facts about Breast Cancer
Here are a few common myths and facts about breast cancer that need to be cleared straightaway in order to increase breast cancer awareness and resolve the misunderstandings about the disease.
Myth 1 - Majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
Fact 1 - Merely 5 to 10% of breast cancer causes are hereditary which means the disease might have been caused by abnormal genes passed from the parent to the child, but the other 90% cases are caused by external factors such as environmental factors and lifestyle.
Myth 2 - Wearing a bra, specially an underwired one increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
Fact 2 - It was previously claimed that the underwire bras increase the risk of breast cancer by compressing the lymphatic system of the breast, thereby leading to the accumulation of toxins in the lymph. But this theory has been debunked by a 2014 scientific study which shows that there is no link between the type and tightness of bra and breast cancer. In fact, there is absolutely no difference in risk between those women who wear bras and those who don’t.
Myth 3 - You can do nothing to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
Fact 3 - 90% of breast cancer cases are caused due to environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle, so there is a lot that you can do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. You can exercise regularly in order to maintain healthy weight and limit your alcohol intake, quit smoking, opt for regular clinical exams and mammograms and examine your own breasts regularly.
Myth 4 - Regular mammograms and clinical exams can prevent breast cancer.
Fact 4 - Mammogram is just a test to diagnose breast cancer and it cannot be used for prevention of breast cancer, but early diagnosis can save lives because it remains at a state where it is most treatable. Mammogram is the most effective test to detect lumps and therefore, women aged 40 and above should receive a mammogram screening once every year.
Myth 5 - Using antiperspirant increases the risk of breast cancer.
Fact 5 - Although certain research and studies trash this rumour but there are certain chemicals used in some antiperspirants that can notch up the risk of breast cancer by small degrees. Paraben is one such chemical. It is used as a preservative in some antiperspirants and it shows mild estrogen-like properties. But the study using paraben did not show any cause and effect connection between paraben and breast cancer and more research is needed in this field.
Myth 6 - The Risk of Breast Cancer is higher in women with heavier Breasts.
Fact 6 - There is absolutely no connection between the size of your breasts and the risk of developing breast cancer. The problem with size is that large breasts can be harder to examine compared to small breasts using clinical breast exams such as mammograms and MRIs. But still, regardless of the beast size, all women should opt for routine screenings and check-ups.
Myth 7 - Breast Cancer always shows up in the form of a lump.
Fact 7 - A lump is one of the most recognizable signs of breast cancer but a lump can also be merely a benign breast condition. Breast cancer can also spring from the underarm lymph nodes. Therefore, women should be alert for other signs and symptoms and changes in the breast such as abnormal swelling of the breasts, skin irritation, dimpling of the skin, nipple retraction, breast or nipple pain, redness or scaliness of the skin, thickening of the nipple or breast skin and discharge from the breast.
Myth 8 - Caffeine causes breast cancer
Fact 8 - There is no connection between drinking coffee and developing breast cancer. In fact, some research suggests that caffeine can actually lower the risk of breast cancer significantly. But it is still inconclusive whether caffeine causes breast soreness.
Myth 9 - Women with lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast changes) are at higher risk of breast cancer.
Fact 9 - Although, it was believed that women with lumpy breasts are at higher risk of getting breast cancer, but recent research and breast cancer information suggest that there is no link between fibrocystic breast changes and breast cancer. But, in case of lumpy breasts it becomes difficult to differentiate between normal tissue and cancerous tissue and therefore, the individual can be worried by a false alarm. Therefore, women with lumpy breasts should follow the mammogram with an ultrasound.
Myth 10 - Breast cancer is a preventable disease.
Fact 10 - Although, it is possible to recognize the risk factors such as heredity and make healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and opting for screening – all of which helps to lower the risk of breast cancer but still it is not possible to prevent the disease entirely. Almost 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer had no specific risk factors that suggest that the disease occurs more by chance and unexplained factors.
Can You Escape Breast Cancer?
There is no sure fire way to escape breast cancer, but there are a few measures which you can adopt to lower your risk and to change the risk factors that are under your control. For example, maintaining healthy body weight and opting for regular exercise can go a long way because fat cells release a substance that contains estrogen which can stimulate abnormal cell growth and breast cancer. Giving up red meat is another effective preventive measure along with cutting back on alcohol and smoking. It is also suggested to limit the duration of hormone therapy to 2 to 3 years because hormone therapy for more than 5 years increases the risk of breast cancer.
So, lead a healthy lifestyle, be physically active and go for regular tests and screening for effective prevention of breast cancer.
All the treatments – medicines, injections and vaccines are for general information of the reader. Please consult a doctor and get a formal prescription before taking any medicines, supplements and injections.
Need a Online Doctor? Check out Online Doctor Services.