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Breast cancer myths

Breast cancer myths

by: Dr. Surinder Kaur Gambhir
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Breast cancer can occur in women and rarely in men. Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple and changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast. Its treatment depends on the stage of cancer. It may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and surgery. It is hence important to be clear about the myths and the truths associated with the same.

Myth 1- Lump in breast means that I have breast cancer.

Truth – A lump in the breast should never be ignored but it does not always mean that one has cancer. Only a very small percentage of the lumps are cancerous. Whenever you notice a lump one should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately and get yourself examined. Apart from the lump, one should be aware of the other warning signs of breast cancer like dimpling or puckering of the skin, nipple discharge, rash on the nipple etc.

Myth 2- If I have the family history of breast cancer I will also have breast cancer.

Truth – Only 10-15% of the individuals will have a family history like close relatives (mother, sister, daughter) with breast cancer. In fact, the majority of the women with breast cancer do not have a family history.

Myth 3- Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

Truth- Antiperspirants and deodorants have been believed to have substances having aluminium which are absorbed through skin and cause breast cell changes which can lead to cancer. But science has shown no link between antiperspirants and deodorants with breast cancer.

Myth4 – BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation means breast cancer.

Truth -Not everyone with the mutation will develop breast or ovarian cancer. However, once the mutation has been detected one should consult your doctor about the various measures by which the risk can be reduced.

Myth 5- Men can’t have breast cancer

Truth – It is a myth that breast cancer only affects women. It can affect men also although the incidence is not very high.

Myth6- Breast implants increase the risk of cancer

Truth – Breast implants do not increase the risk for breast cancer but you have to inform about the implant whenever you opt for mammography.

Myth7- Any injury to the breast due to fall/ hit can cause cancer

Truth – Such injuries have scientifically no association with cancer

Myth 8- Nipple piercing causes breast cancer

Truth- Nipple piercing although increases the risk of infection but does not increase the risk of cancer.

Myth 9- If I am pregnant I cannot have breast cancer

Truth- During pregnancy and breast feeding the breasts are more enlarged and tender so there aa lot of chances that a lump can be missed.

Myth 10-Breast cancer does not occur in young women

Truth – Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. Though the incidence is less in younger age group but one should have regular clinical breast examination

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