What do you think when the term breast cancer comes to your mind?
“It won’t happen to me because no one in my family has it.”
“It only happens to women who wear underwired bras.”
“Breast implants and cancer go hand-in-hand.”
Don’t be silly – it is easy to get swayed by such thoughts. After all – the fear of the unknown gets the better of us, isn’t it? But do you know what? There is nothing to be afraid of breast cancer. Yes – it is a disease which could be painful or worse – painfully fatal.
But it is also curable provided it is detected at an early age. It is our endeavour at Brexa to ensure that women over the age of 25 do monthly breast self exams and undergo an annual mammography. However, it is easier said than done.
There is still hesitation towards testing for breast cancer for reasons too many. With 17% of India’s population suffering from the disease, there has to be a more effective way to spread awareness about it. And one of the ways is dispelling the myths around breast cancer.
Myth #1: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk
Reality: Nope, that isn’t true. Approximately 70% of women diagnosed with the disease have no prior family links with breast cancer. Only 10% of cases are as a result of genetics. If the woman’s parent, sibling or child has breast cancer, the chances of getting affected by the disease double.
Myth #2: Breast cancer always shows up as a lump
Reality: We would have preferred that. Breast cancer could then be easily diagnosed and treated. However, most women are unable to pinpoint the symptoms that include unexplained redness in the bosom area, change in nipple size or form, nipple discharge, freckles on the breasts, armpit swelling and tenderness. We have explained the symptoms in detail in this blog.
Worldwide Breast Cancer Organization shared this stunning imagery using lemons last year in order to spread awareness about breast cancer. Check it out:
Next time someone tells you that breast cancer only shows up as a lump, you can show him or her this image.
Myth #3: Most breast lumps are cancerous
Reality: Just like breast cancer doesn’t always show as a lump, not all lumps are cancerous. In fact, 80-85% of lumps found in the breasts are benign. Such lumps usually have smooth edges and can move slightly when pushed against them. They are often found in both breasts.
Mammogram, biopsy and ultrasound may help detect cancerous lumps which is why it is important to get checked.
Myth #4: Breast cancer implants can increase cancer risk
Reality: This isn’t true. Although women with breast implants are at an increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer affecting the immune system, there is no study that specifically links to cancer of the breasts. If you have implants, you should still get screened for cancer.
Since standard mammograms don’t work, additional X-rays are required to study the breast tissue under the implants.
Myth #5: It isn’t possible to get breast cancer after a mastectomy
Reality: For women who have undergone a prophylactic or preventive mastectomy, there’s still a small chance they can get breast cancer in the chest area. Roughly 10% of women will develop breast cancer even through their breast cancer tissue has been removed.
Myth #6: If there’s a risk of getting breast cancer, there’s little you can do but watch for the signs
Reality: Uh no! Just as certain cancers respond better to specific treatments, certain cancers respond well to specific food. Breast cancer may be prevented if you includes foods in your diet rich in fibre, vitamin B, phytochemicals, allium, omega-3s, and more.
Drink green tea and coffee. Both the beverages are good for your health. Exercise regularly. Keep alcohol, trans fats, sugar and red meat at bay. We created an entire infographic on what one should diligently eat and drink and what should be avoided for preventing cancer of the breasts. Have a look.
Myth #7: Mammograms expose you to radiation that can increase risk of breast cancer
Reality: This is completely untrue. The amount of radiation used in a mammography is too small to associate it with any risk when compared with the preventive benefits reaped from it. Mammograms can detect lumps even before they can be physically felt or noticed.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older receive a screening mammogram every one to two years.
Myth #8: Breastfeeding doesn’t reduce the risk of getting breast cancer
Reality: It does! Breastfeeding protects the breasts’ health. Most women who are breastfeeding have fewer menstrual cycles which results in lower estrogen levels. Such women also tend to keep a nutritious diet so that the baby gets the nourishment he deserves. Smoking and alcohol usage is nil. A healthy lifestyle automatically brings down the risk of getting breast cancer.
Over to you
Remember: Prevention is ‘always’ better than cure. Don’t forget to download Brexa app for free here and do your Breast Self-Exam (BSE) today.