Whether or not doctors preach early detection, 1 in 8 women will still be diagnosed with breast cancer. In order to change these stats, we have to fight some of the most common misconceptions about this disease.
Let us debunk some of the lies that have been circulating about breast cancer for ages.
1. Only Women With A Family History Of Breast Cancer Are At Risk
The truth is, only about 10% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the disease, while for roughly 70% of women, there were no identifiable risk factors. There is no denying that the family-history risk is a reality. If your mother, sister, or daughter developed the disease before the age of 50, your risk of being diagnosed doubles.
In this case, you should consider regular diagnostic examinations. If there are more than one individual in your family that were diagnosed under the age of 50, there is a probability that a breast cancer gene is present. However, risk factors are numerous and include anything from stress to poor diet.
2. Plastic Surgery Causes Breast Cancer
There is no proven cause-and-effect connection between breast surgeries and breast cancer. Standard mammograms might not always work so well with breast implants. Additional X-rays might be required for these women, but the risk of developing breast cancer is not directly influenced by the very procedures.
In fact, you do not need to go full Angelina Jolie to shut out the BRCA1 gene mutation and perform a masectomy. A simple breast reduction will go a long way to lessen the odds.
3. Wearing Antiperspirant Increases Your Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer
Although a small study found traces of parabens, which are used as preservatives in some antiperspirants, in breast cancer tissue, it offers no conclusive opinion on how parabens got in tumors. This myth probably originated from the fact that parabens increase estrogen levels, which have been linked to increased breast cancer risk. But, this is in no case, a decisive link.
Besides, most brands no longer include parabens in their products. Another confusion is due to the aluminum, which is also contained in antiperspirants and which shows up on mammograms giving a false-positive result.
4. Small-Breasted Women Have Less Chance Of Getting Breast Cancer
Although it has long been considered a decisive risk factor, the size of your bust does not affect your chances of developing breast cancer. Again, the misconception probably originated from the fact that standard breast exams, like mammograms and MRIs, are more difficult to perform on women with very large breasts.
Plus, obesity is a known risk factor, and it goes hand in hand with large breasts. But remember, all women should undergo routine checkups, regardless of their cup size.
5. Breast Cancer Always Comes In The Form Of A Lump
Breast self-exams are crucial for early diagnostics and increasing the survival rate since lumps do indicate both benign and malignant conditions. But, not every lump is a tumor, nor is every tumor a lump.
There are other signs and changes that women should be alerted about, such as swelling, nipple pain, nipple retraction, skin irritation, redness, thickening of the nipple or breast skin, or any kind of discharge other than breast milk.
6. Double Mastectomy Prevents The Return Of Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, the survival rate does not increase with double mastectomy, although many women are led to believe so. After removing a breast that has malignant tissue, there is still 3 to 4 percent risk of recurrence. The survival rates are the same for women who chose mastectomy and those who chose the breast-conserving option.
Sentinel node biopsy should be performed before any drastic measures are taken in order to determine whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes. Mastectomy as a preventive measure significantly reduces the risk, but it does not eliminate it. What is more, some women develop breast cancer at the site of the scars after mastectomy.