Any type of cancer or chronic disease is a serious issue. Breast cancer is one around which numerous myths have materialized over time. This article aims to debunk some of the most common myths about breast cancer you may have heard.
Myth: Breast Cancer is Hereditary
Research shows that less than 10% of breast cancers are linked to genetics. While genetics may increase the risk of having breast cancer, there are several other factors due to which it occurs. These include surrounding environment, diet, health and general lifestyle choices. Furthermore, knowing that there may be a cancer gene is an even bigger reason to take preventative measures. With the right prevention and care, breast cancer can be avoided completely.
Myth: Tight Bras Cause Cancer
Neither the type nor tightness of a bra has been linked to cancer. The only time an underwire bra is not recommended is at night during your sleep, since it may cause discomfort due to disruption in the blood flow. However, this is true for almost everything you wear, and is not limited to bras. Therefore, there is no real connection between wearing bras and breast cancer.
Myth: Smaller Breasts Means Lower Risk
Your breast size has nothing to do with breast cancer. In women, breast cancers develop in the cell lining of the lobules. These are ducts where milk is produced and carried to the nipple. Breast size does not matter since all women have the same number of lobules. Therefore, women with a smaller bra size have just as much chance of getting the cancer as women with a bigger size do.
Myth: Deodorants Cause Breast Cancer
Do not be tempted to skip the deodorant routine because of this myth, since it will only make life more difficult for you. Rumor has it that since antiperspirants prevent sweating, the toxins can cause cancer by accumulating in the lymph nodes. However, not all toxins are released through sweat, which is why they do not travel to the lymph nodes if they aren’t excreted. Secondly, parabens are only found in some deodorants, whereas many are being manufactured without the use of harmful chemicals. Therefore, no real connection can be made between deodorants and breast cancer.
Myth: Birth Control Pills Cause Cancer
It is no surprise that in Pakistan, plenty of myths have been construed around birth control. This is because even today, the concept of ‘family planning’ is not approved and accepted by all. According to science, however, birth control has nothing to do with breast cancer. While it is true that taking pills can have side effects, the most common effect is the added level of estrogen. Other than that, a reliable doctor and medication is highly unlikely to cause cancer.
Myth: Lumps in the Breast Always Mean Cancer
Whenever a lump is spotted or felt close to the breasts, it is assumed to be cancer. However, most lumps are due to benign or noncancerous tumors called fibroadenomas. Furthermore, they may be small cysts or other complications that require medical attention. However, since it is better to be safe than sorry, a mammogram, biopsy or ultrasound is recommended to clarify the causes of any lumps.
Myth: Caffeine Causes Breast Cancer
Coffee, tea or any form of caffeine is not found to be linked to breast cancer. Caffeine is one of those things that you either love or hate. Regular caffeine takers claim that they cannot start their day without it. On the other hand, those who don’t care for it mostly don’t bother with it at all. However, what both these types of people need to know is that caffeine is not a harmful drug. In fact, research suggests that black coffee, dark chocolate or herbal tea may actually lower your risk of developing cancer. So far, the research remains inconclusive.
Myth: Exposure to Air can Spread the Cancer
Patients who may have breast cancer are skeptical about getting themselves open and exposed to the air. They believe that air exposure may cause spreading or metastasis of the cancer. However, doctors suggest that cutting open a body to remove a tumor is what prevents the cancer from spreading. Therefore, worrying about the air could just as well cause the cancer to spread internally on its own.
In conclusion, remember that before believing everything you hear, read and cross check each fact carefully. It may end up saving time, energy, and most importantly, someone’s life.