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  • Writer's pictureThe Oncologist

Myth or Fact? - Debunking Some Misconceptions Around Breast Cancer

Myth #1: Men don’t (or can’t) get breast cancer.

Fact: Men may not think of themselves as having breasts. For men, it’s their chest or their “pecs,” but the fact is men have breast tissue. So, men can get breast cancer! Global statistics are showing a rise in breast cancer in men with the U.S. recording about 2400 new cases every year.

Myth #2: Breast cancer always forms a lump.

Fact: Most people know that a lump in the breast may be a sign of breast cancer, but there are actually seven other warning signs you need to know about! And did you know that six of the eight warning signs are visual changes that can’t be felt?

Myth #3: If I eat right, don’t smoke, exercise and don’t drink alcohol I won’t get breast cancer.

Fact: A person can do everything “right” and still get breast cancer. Exercising and eating healthy can reduce your risk, but it doesn’t eliminate it. There is no one behavior that will prevent breast cancer. However, being physically active, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol are all good for reducing cancer risk and your overall health.

Myth #4: Wearing deodorant causes breast cancer.

Fact: Lucky for us (and those around us), this is not true. While there have been some reports that chemicals found in deodorants and antiperspirants can enter the skin and cause changes in breast cells that could lead to cancer, the research to date does not support a link between deodorant use and breast cancer risk.

Myth #5: Wearing an underwire bra causes breast cancer.

Fact: Don’t worry; you can keep wearing your bra (if you want). Scientific evidence does not support a link between wearing an underwire bra (or any type of bra) and breast cancer risk. There is no biological reason why the two would be linked.

Myth #6: Having a family history of breast cancer means “I WILL” get breast cancer.

Fact: A family history of certain types of cancer can increase your risk of breast cancer. However, most women with breast cancer don’t have a family history of the disease. In fact, only about 13 percent of women with breast cancer have a close relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer. Also, even if you don’t have a family history, be aware because you can still get breast cancer!

Myth #7: Injury or trauma to the breast, like getting hit in the breast, can cause breast cancer.

Fact: While we never want to get hurt, the good news is there is no evidence to support a link between trauma or injury to the breast and the risk of breast cancer

Myth #8: Young women don’t get breast cancer.

Fact: The truth is all women are at risk of breast cancer! Although rare, young women can get breast cancer, even in their teens and 20s!

Myth #9: A woman can’t get breast cancer if she is pregnant.

Fact: Sadly, this is not true. Breast cancer is actually the most common cancer in pregnant and postpartum women. When women are pregnant or breastfeeding, their breasts are naturally more tender and enlarged, which may make it harder to find a lump or notice other changes.

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