Myths regarding Breast Cancer that NEED to be shattered!

Breast cancer ranks as the most prevalent cancer amongst Indian women. Yet, Indian women are still unaware of it with the mortality rate due to this disease increasing day by day. 1 And since prevention is better than cure, it is time to understand that breast cancer can happen to anyone; irrespective of what you do and whether you have a family history of breast cancer or not.

The best way to get aware about breast cancer is to have a self-test every month to check for any lumps or swelling to skin changes. For women above 40, it is best to get a mammogram test done annually for identifying a type of breast cancer that may have no obvious symptoms at  all.

The actual process of diagnosis can take weeks and involve many different kinds of tests but it is better to be safe than sorry. Nonetheless, if you do feel any lumps or swelling to skin, that DOES NOT necessarily mean that you have cancer.

Which brings us to the 5 MAJOR myths of Breast Cancer that one need to bust about breast cancer:

1) Myth: Having dairy product causes breast cancer.

The Truth:

Several myths persist about the correlation between dairy intake and the increased risk of breast cancer.  Over many decades, studies have shown that dairy consumption does not increase the risk of breast cancer.  For more information about these studies, please visit:

https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/31/1/78/655928/Meat-and-dairy-food-consumption-and-breast-cancer.

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

The Truth:

Only a persistent lump in your breast or noticeable changes in breast tissue may be suggestive of breast cancer. Such signs should never be ignored. Finding a lump in breast is very common and mostly they are benign, but still it’s important to get it checked. 

3) Myth: Men do not get breast cancer.

The Truth:

While the percentage of men getting breast cancer is still small, men should also self check themselves while they are in shower. Men carry a higher mortality rate and are less likely to assume a lump is a breast cancer and thus it is pertinent that we bust this myth. 

4) Myth: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.

The Truth:

According to the National Cancer Institute, “The benefits of mammography, however, nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.”So get an annual mammogram test when you cross the age of 40.

5) Myth: Deodorants cause breast cancer.

The Truth:

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are still not aware of any conclusive evidence that can link the growth of cancer cells to the usage of deodorants.

Sources:

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajco.12661/full
  2. International Journal of Epidemiology:
    https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/31/1/78/655928/Meat-and-dairy-food-consumption-and-breast-cancer
  3. All the data has been checked from www.nationalbreastcancer.org and www.cancer.org

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