Breast Cancer Month: Myth vs. Fact

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Breast Cancer Month: Myth vs. Fact Photo

Here are some of the most common myths about breast cancer and the truth behind them:

MYTH: If you exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and limit alcohol, you don’t have to worry about ever getting breast cancer.

FACT: While these behaviors can help lower your breast cancer risk, they, unfortunately, can’t eliminate it.

While there is evidence that healthy habits can lower your risk of getting breast and other cancers, exercising, eating right, and limiting alcohol consumption can't guarantee you'll never get diagnosed. There are many cases of people who have lived healthy lifestyles and still end up with the disease. It's still important to take care of your health in order to lower your chances for other risks, but it is also just as essential to perform self-breast exams, get regular screenings and pay close attention to any unusual changes in or around your breasts.

MYTH: I can’t get breast cancer if no one in my family has ever had it.

FACT: Most people diagnosed with breast cancer have no known family history.

Many believe that breast cancer is inherited, but only about 5-10% are believed to have been hereditary. Therefore, the vast majority of breast cancer diagnoses have no link to family history. Unfortunately, in most cases, doctors can't determine the exact reason why cancer has developed, and the most significant risk factor is simply being a woman and growing older.

MYTH: Wearing bras too frequently is a risk factor for breast cancer.

FACT:There is no evidence that there is a link between breast cancer and bra wearing.

The internet and media have fueled a theory that wearing a bra, especially one with an underwire, could restrict lymph fluid flow out of the breast and cause problems within the breast tissues. A 2014 study conducted with about 1,500 women with breast cancer found no link between the disease and bra-wearing.

MYTH: Carrying your cell phone in your bra frequently can cause breast cancer.

FACT: While cellphones' safety is still being studied, there has been no found link between cellphones and breast cancer.

There have been publicly raised concerns over how cell phones affect our health, including how carrying your cell phone in your bra can lead you to develop breast cancer. There is no research to defend this theory. However, research is still being done to determine the effects of radiofrequency radiation given off by cellphones on the body and if it's a credible risk factor for developing cancer.

MYTH: Getting mammograms annually guarantees that your breast cancer will be spotted early.

FACT: While mammograms are the best early detection tool, it doesn’t always find breast cancer at an early stage.

It's easy to put breast cancer out of your mind after a mammogram comes back clean; however, a mammogram isn't foolproof. False negatives, meaning the images look cancer-free when cancer is present, is always a possibility. It is also possible that breast cancer can grow quickly within just a year, and it may be detected at a later stage when you get your annual mammogram. This is why regular self-exams are crucial to early detection.

MYTH: Only middle-aged and older women develop breast cancer.

FACT: Young women and men at any age can also develop breast cancer.

While older women are the most common demographic to develop breast cancer, women and men of all ages can develop this disease. Even some doctors would be quick to rule out breast cancer if you are a man or young woman, making it even more important to pay close attention to any unusual changes in your breasts, no matter your age or gender.

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