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Top 10 Myths about Breast Cancer

By Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi in Breast Cancer

Oct 27 , 2020 | 2 min read

1. Breast cancer can develop only in the elderly

Although the probability of a breast lump turning out to be cancerous is higher in an elderly woman, it is not zero at any age. Breast cancer is known to occur at all ages and even a young girl should visit a specialist and get herself evaluated if she notices a sudden change in the look or feel of her breast.

2. Breast cancer cannot develop during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Most women tend to ignore subtle breast symptoms during pregnancy or while they are breastfeeding, assuming they are ‘normal’ changes. This often proves to be hazardous and can cause a delay in diagnosis. Although breast feeding and early pregnancy reduces a woman’s lifetime risk, cancer can develop in these phases too.

3. Wearing tight, underwired or black bras can cause breast cancer

This is probably one of the most common fake trivia about breast cancer which is often passed on from one lady to another. Your choice of undergarments is very important for your comfort, but it has nothing to do with your risk of developing breast cancer.

4. Deodorants cause breast cancer

Although it has been proposed that the use of underarm deodorants containing aluminium and parabens may be carcinogenic, there is no definite scientific evidence linking the use of deodorants and antiperspirants with increased risk of developing breast cancer.

5. Physical trauma can cause breast cancer

Often patients attribute their breast lump to a physical injury. More often than not, the injury just brings an underlying breast lump to your notice rather than cause the breast lump. Physical trauma can form a hematoma but never breast cancer.

6. Dairy and sugar intake cause breast cancer

Certain studies have shown that milk may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer because of the hormone content. However, cutting down sugar or dairy intake to zero is not recommended. It is important to understand that moderation is the key. Any imbalanced diet which may lead to weight gain can cause an increased risk of breast cancer mainly if you are postmenopausal.

7. Pain in the breast is a symptom of breast cancer

Ladies often tend to ignore a lump in the breast or nipple discharge if it is not accompanied with pain. It is probably human nature to ignore something which doesn’t give us discomfort, but is very important to know that cancerous lumps are mostly painless.

 8. If you don’t have family history of breast cancer, you are safe from breast cancer

This is absolutely untrue. Only 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary or familial, most newly diagnosed patients do not report any family history of breast, ovarian or any other cancer.

9. Mammograms prevent breast cancer

A mammogram is basically an X-ray of the breast tissue. It is useful to detect breast cancer at an early stage and if often recommended for women above the age of 40. However, it does not prevent cancer and in fact, may miss certain cancers in younger women.

10. Men can’t get breast cancer

Last but not the least; men can get breast cancer too. Although the incidence of breast cancer in men is much lower, breast cancer is known to occur in men too and can present with a lump or ulcer on their chest.