Top 10 Myths About Breast Cancer

Discussion in 'Oncology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Myth of Breast Cancer # 1:

    Any lump in the breast is Breast Cancer.

    More than 80% of lumps felt by women are benign, however this should be evaluated by a doctor who will perform an ultrasound, mammogram and at times organise a biopsy if deemed appropriate. But remember, not every lump is cancerous.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 2:

    Women under 40 don't get breast cancer.

    The risk of breast cancer increases with age, women of all ages can develop breast cancer and statistically speaking it is uncommon for women under 25 to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 3:

    A Mammogram detects all breast cancers

    A mammogram is able to detect only 85% of all breast tumours, as it is harder to detect these tumours in women with dense glandular breast tissue where a doctor may perform additional ultrasound and/or MRI of the breasts.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 4:

    Breast cancer is a women’s disease

    This is not true as men can also be inflicted with breast cancer. Roughly, for every 100 cases of female breast cancer, there is one incident of male breast cancer as well

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 5:

    If I have no family history of breast cancer, and I exercise, eat right and don’t smoke, I probably won’t get breast cancer

    Unfortunately, this is not the case, as 70% of women have no identifiable risk factors. A healthy life style certainly helps with your general health, but does not protect you against cancer.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 6:

    Antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer

    A decade back, this was quite a common myth, which fortunately is not true as substantiated by extensive research performed in studies.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 7:

    Mammograms can spread cancer, or even cause it.

    There have been nearly a dozen trials all over the world over the last 3 decades, which has consistently shown that the amount of radiation from mammography is so low, that it is outweighed by the benefits this test offers.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 8:

    Underwire bras can cause breast cancer

    A few years back few enthusiasts felt that an underwire bra potentially obstructed the lymphatic flow, which possibly may have a link of causal association with breast cancers. The good thing is that this is not true as underwire bras are absolutely safe.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 9:

    If my mother had breast cancer, I will also get Breast cancer.

    There is a genetic association of breast cancer, and having one family member may put you at twice the risk of cancer. This implies that if your baseline risk of breast cancer was 1.5%, then with the presence of family history this risk increases to 3-4%. However, if breast cancer is hereditary and a few known genes from your mother have been passed on to you like BRCA1 or BRCA2, then the risk of developing breast cancer can be as high as 50-80% during a life time.

    Myth of Breast Cancer # 10:

    Mastectomy is the only treatment for breast cancer.

    As an alternative to a mastectomy for early breast cancer and select cases of advanced breast cancers, it is now possible to preserve the breasts by performing a breast conserving operation, which is followed by a course of radiotherapy treatment +/- chemotherapy. The results from over a dozen clinical trials comparing mastectomy Vs breast conserving approach are identical, with the added benefit of preserving body image for women.



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