The Pink October campaign rightfully redirects focus towards breast cancer and its implications. However, despite the efforts to raise awareness and knowledge, myths and misconceptions continue to cloud and mislead our understanding of the disease. With one in eight women potentially developing breast cancer in their lifetime, these false notions not only delay early diagnosis but can also be harmful for women’s health. From hereditary factors to the supposed age immunity, here are six breast cancer myths we need to quit believing for a more enlightened and accurate perspective.
1 – Breast Cancer is Solely a Woman’s Issue
Gender inequality appears to have invaded even the cellular level (how rude!). Unfortunately, the myth that only women can develop breast cancer is as widespread as it is false. To be clear, yes, while breast cancer is predominantly a female disease (women have more breast tissue, after all), men can also develop it albeit at a lower rate. If you’re a man reading this, it’s high time to end your breast denial phase! And to all people, regardless of gender, stay informed and encourage regular check-ups. Today’s lesson? Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate.
2 – Breast Cancer is Always Hereditary
The idea that genes are the only factor affecting the likelihood of getting breast cancer is as melodramatic as a soap opera. While inheritance can play a part, numerous other risk factors – such as age, hormone levels, and lifestyle choices – significantly influence the likelihood. Roughly 70-80% of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. So let’s stop blaming our genes exclusively and acknowledge other factors that we can control to some extent. Trust me, our genes have enough self-esteem issues as it is.
3 – Age Grants Immunity to Breast Cancer
Unlike fine wine or parmesan cheese, unfortunately your breasts don’t become immune to cancer with age. On the contrary, the risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. This ridiculous myth belongs in the same category as believing in unicorns or that your favorite TV show will never get cancelled. So, dear seasoned ladies, keep aware and continue those important routine check-ups. After all, age is just a number (especially when it comes to breast health).
4 – Finding a Lump Means Breast Cancer
Finding a lump in your breast can be scarier than seeing your internet history exposed, but it does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Many lumps are benign or non-cancerous, but it’s always best to get them checked (rather be safe than sorry). Instead of panicking or jumping to s, consult your healthcare professional – they’re better equipped to manage such situations than Dr Google.
5 – Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer
While underwire bras can be blamed for many things (like those intimate love bites), causing breast cancer isn’t one of them. This misinformation seems to have been born from the idea that underwire bras restrict the lymph system, leading to a build-up of toxins. Do yourself a favor and put this myth in the same dustbin as the one that claims the earth is flat. Your choice of underwear doesn’t dictate your risk of breast cancer.
6 – All Breast Cancers Have the Same Treatment
Assuming all breast cancers are treated the same way is like saying all pizzas should only come with cheese and tomato. Different types and stages of breast cancer require different treatment strategies. An individual’s treatment plan may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy. So, for those who love oversimplification, breast cancer treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. It’s as diverse as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe.