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Posted on in Cancer

5 Breast Cancer Myths And the Truth You Need to Know

“There are so many myths about breast cancer that it is difficult to narrow down the list,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Rommel Lu. “Plastic surgery, the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene, and underwire bras are just a few of the ‘issues’ people have misunderstandings about that we do NOT address here.  Checking with the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation or the American Cancer Society are good reference sources for you.”

Here are some of the most common myths:

1. Myth: I’m not going to breast feed because it can increase my risk of breast cancer. 

TRUTH: Just the opposite.  Breastfeeding may actually decrease the risk of breast cancer prior to menopause. 

2. Myth:  Only women with a family history of breast cancer need to worry.

TRUTH: The majority of women diagnosed with this disease DO NOT have a family history of breast cancer.  It is true that women have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer if their mother, sister or grandmother ever had it.

3. Myth: Since I had a normal mammogram, I don’t need to worry about breast cancer.

TRUTH: Starting at age 40 women are urged to have an annual mammogram. Women under 40 should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years. Ongoing breast self-exams between mammogram screenings are also important for early detection. 

4. Myth:  If you find a lump during a self-exam, you have breast cancer.

TRUTH:  There may be a number of reasons for the lump you feel – none of which are cancer.  Only a small percentage of lumps are breast cancer. However, it is a good idea to see your family physician if you detect a noticeable lump or any change in your breast that you haven’t noticed before.

5. Myth:  Antiperspirants cause cancer.

TRUTH: According to researchers at the National Cancer Institute, they are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking deodorants as a cause or contributing factor to breast cancer. Another oncologist notes that some deodorants contain aluminum, which may show up on mammograms as a false positive.  So when you are scheduled for a mammogram, it’s best to avoid wearing antiperspirants.

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Sources include: McLeod Health, National Cancer Institute, BioMed Central, EverydayHealth.com, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

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