6 breast cancer myths
October 13, 2013
Myth: Only women with a family history of cancer on the mother’s side are at risk
The vast majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have such a history. The National Breast Cancer Foundation said only one in 10 diagnosed women have a family history.
Still, women who have a family history with breast cancer are at a higher risk. The Foundation advises women who have had a first-degree relative — a mother or a sister — diagnosed with the disease before age 50 undergo regular breast imaging starting 10 years before the age of the family member's diagnoses.
Myth: Antiperspirant or deodorants increases the risk of cancer
The National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institute of Health, has not found conclusive evidence connecting antiperspirants or deodorants to breast cancer. A 2002 study polling 813 women with breast cancer examined the idea and did not show an increased risk for women who used the products. A 2006 study produced similar results, though a 2003 study of 437 breast cancer survivors did find women who shaved under their arms or used antiperspirants or deodorants got cancer at an earlier age than women who used such practices beginning later in their lives or on a less regular basis.
Myth: Most breast lumps are cancerous
Changes in a breast and persistent lumps are definitely reason for a trip to the doctor, but most lumps are not cancerous. About 80 percent of lumps are benign and not life threatening.
Myth: Young women don't get breast cancer
Women of every age can be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. About one in four diagnosed women are not yet 50 years old. Annual breast exams from doctors are a good idea for younger women and mammogram screenings should begin at age 40.
Myth: Eating organic foods will reduce the chance of breast cancer
A good diet is never a bad thing and many cancer experts recommend healthy eating. It hasn't been proven in studies to help reduce the chance of cancer, however, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, which said "there is no scientifically proven link between the consumption of non-organic foods and an increased risk of breast cancer."
Myth: Lumps are the only symptom of breast cancer
Swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin and non-milk discharge are just some of the potential symptoms that go beyond a lump.