• Melissa Kartini

6 Breast Cancer Myths Debunked

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

There are lots of myths surrounding breast cancer, a lot of which can prevent women from getting early diagnosis when they could've. In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's do some myth busting.

Myth #1: Underwire bras cause breast cancer

For those of you who love keeping the twins looking nice and perky, you can relax. There is absolutely no evidence that links bras--underwired ones or otherwise--to breast cancer. This particular myth stems from an old theory that underwire bras would reduce lymphatic drainage and therefore increase breast cancer risk. This was, however, not based on any data whatsoever.

So those tempting La Senza sales you always see going on? Time to storm 'em.

Myth #2: Only women with a family history of breast cancer can get breast cancer

Less than 10% of breast cancer patients get breast cancer because of family history. This fact may surprise you since family history is a well-established risk factor. So well-established that some believe that it is the only risk factor there is--it isn't.

Myth #3: Only women can get breast cancer

Surprise, surprise, women are not. While it is exceedingly rare, men do get breast cancer. Those who do, however, account for only less than 1% of the population, and only one in a thousand men will ever be diagnosed with breast cancer. A sign to look out for for breast cancer in men is a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.

Myth #4: Only older women get breast cancer

While an increase in age is definitely a risk factor, that doesn't mean younger women aren't vulnerable. Breast cancer can be diagnosed at any age, and it tends to be more aggressive in younger women.

Myth #5: Plastic surgery causes breast cancer

No, plastic surgery does not cause breast cancer, which is good news for women who want to enlarge or reduce the size of their breasts. What plastic surgery does do is, in the case of implants, make mammograms more difficult. That said, women who go for breast reduction surgery may actually see a 60% decrease in the risk of breast cancer, depending on how much they take.

Myth #6: Deodorants cause breast cancer

Thus far, there are no studies that suggest a link between deodarants and breast cancer. There are two possible points where this particular myth originated from:

  • Parabens: Most of us have probably heard about this one, and because the fear of parabens is so widespread, many companies have gone to the length of excluding parabens from their products. This, despite there being no decisive link. But if you are still concerned, check out the ingredients list and be on the look out for these ingredients: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

  • Mammogram preparation: Deodorants contain some aluminium. Because of this, women should not wear deodorants before going for a mammogram as the aluminium may show up on mammograms as a false-positive result.

Admittedly, more research into the area of deodorants-breast cancer is needed.

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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