14 Myths and Facts About Breast Cancer

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It’s breast cancer awareness month, and it can be hard to distinguish between which is a myth or a fact. Unverified and false rumours about breast cancer are easily circulated through the Internet. To dispel this false rumours here is a list of common breast cancer myths and facts that you should know.

1.Myth: Breast cancers run in families.

Fact: It is estimated that between 5% and 10% of breast cancers are inherited, which means that they are caused by defective genes passed from parent to child. Lifestyle and environmental factors can influence the risk of breast cancer. The highest risk factors are simply being a woman and growing older. Over time, healthy breast cells can develop mutations on their own, eventually forming into cancer cells. That being said, if your family has a history of breast cancer, it is important to take this consideration seriously. 

2.Myth: If you have no symptoms in your breasts, it means you don’t have breast cancer.

Fact: Usually, there are no symptoms for women diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition to self-examination and annual breast exams, daily mammograms should be performed if you fall within the age range of screening. The schedule of daily mammograms depends on your age. Mammograms help identify breast cancer cells before it causes symptoms, allowing early diagnosis and immediate treatment.

3.Myth: The bigger the breast size, the higher the risk of getting breast cancer.

Fact: Breast cancer grows in cells that line the ducts or lobules-parts that produce milk and carry it to the nipple-and all females have the same number of them, regardless of breast size. What makes breasts bigger or smaller is usually the amount of fat and stroma (fibrous tissue), which are shown to have very little effect on cancer diagnosis.

4.Myth: Breast cancer only occur in older women.

Fact: Breast cancer can occur at any age. The risk of breast cancer increases as we age older. In Malaysia, the average lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 1 in 19 women.

5.Myth: Wearing  bra increases the risk of breast cancer.

Fact: An estimated 1,500 women with breast cancer in 2014 found no link between bra-wearing and breast cancer. There is even a hypothesis that wearing a bra (underwire style) can restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breast, allowing toxic substances to build up in the tissues. There is, however, no evidence to support this claim.

6.Myth: Breast cancer is contagious.

Fact: You cannot catch breast cancer or transmit it to someone else’s body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells, which tends to spread to other breast tissues. Nonetheless, you can reduce your risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle, being aware of the risk factors, and following an early detection program so that you can identify it early if you have breast cancer.

7.Myth: Radiation by mammography causes breast cancer.

Fact: The risk of harm from radiation exposure through mammogram is very low. The advantages of early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in reducing mortality far outweigh the risk of the small dose of radiation received from a mammogram.

8.Myth: If you feel pain in your breast, it means you have breast cancer.

Fact: It is normal for women of childbearing age to experience a certain amount of pain in their breasts during their menstrual cycles, particularly just before their periods. But if you are worried about the pain in your breast, regardless of age, consult your doctor for an examination.

9.Myth: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.

Fact: Only a small percentage of breast lumps will turn out to be cancer. Nevertheless, breast cancer is not always caused by a lump. You must see a doctor for a clinical breast examination. He/she can review breast imaging studies to determine whether or not this lump is of concern. Take care of your body by conducting regular self-examination, stay in contact with your doctor plan an annual clinical breast exam, and schedule your weekly mammogram screening. 

10.Myth: Men don’t get breast cancer.

Fact: While less than 1% of new breast cancer diagnoses occur among males, there is still a risk for males to develop the disease. For men, the average risk of breast cancer is about 1 for 1,000.

11.Myth: Consuming too much sugar causes breast cancer.

Fact: Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, rely on glucose (blood sugar) for their energy. Giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn’t make them develop faster, and lack of sugar doesn’t make them grow slower. Nevertheless, high intake of sugar, such as desserts and sugar-sweetened drinks, can lead to weight gain, which may increase the risk of breast cancer. 

12.Myth: Eating soy foods can lead to breast cancer.

Fact: Research has not linked consuming soya foods to an increased risk of breast cancer. Evidence shows that this may even reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Soy food can be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, both for the general population and for people with breast cancer.

13.Myth: Drinking milk can raise the risk of breast cancer.

Fact: Early studies raised concerns as to whether drinking milk from cows treated with hormones can increase the risk of breast cancer or other types of cancer. Later studies have not been able to establish a clear link. At this point, it is not certain that drinking milk produced with or without hormone treatment is of concern with cancer risks or other health complications. 

14.Myth: Taking vitamin supplements can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Fact: No studies have shown that vitamin intake decreases the risk of breast cancer. Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States; they do not have to be proved to be safe before they are marketed, although they are restricted to what they can claim Food will always be the best source of vitamins and minerals for you. If you take vitamins or are considering it, you should consult with your doctor first.

Which myth did you pass it as a fact in the first place but turns out to be false?Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.



You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

Reach me at youjing@jobstore.com

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