Myths vs Facts about Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it’s important to shine the spotlight on this disease. Did you know breast cancer is the number 1 cancer affecting Singaporean women and yet approximately 60% of women between the ages of 50 and 69 are skipping their regular mammogram screening? It’s been proven early detection saves lives and it’s important to schedule in a screening for yourself at least once every 2 years.
Perhaps it’s because of certain myths floating around, some women feel there’s no need for a mammogram and it’s about time we pop these bubbles.
Myth 1: No one in my family has Breast Cancer so I won’t get it
One of the biggest misconceptions about breast cancer is that it’s inherited but the truth is only about 5-10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary. In other words, the majority of those who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
While doctors can’t yet explain why one person gets breast cancer over another, there’s evidence to show that the biggest risk factors are simply being a woman and getting older, as healthy breast cells can mutate, turning into cancer cells.
Myth 2: You won’t get breast cancer if you have a healthy lifestyle
While it’s true that eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping active will lower your risk of getting breast cancer, they can’t guarantee you won’t get the disease.
That being said, you should still do what you can to mitigate the risk factors, such as leading a healthy lifestyle but it’s still important that you go for regular screenings and perform your own self-exams, and paying attention to any unusual changes in your breasts.
Myth 3: Wearing bras can cause breast cancer
Every now and then, we hear of this myth that bra-wearing increases the risk of breast cancer. This is a myth particularly targeted at underwire bras as they are believed to restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breast, resulting in a build-up of toxic substances in the breast tissue.
There is no truth to support this claim. In fact a study conducted with around 1,500 females found there was no link between bra-wearing and breast cancer.
Myth 4: Using underarm perspirant can cause breast cancer
Another persistent rumour that has made its way through the community, this claim stipulates that underarm perspirants containing aluminum and other chemicals get into the lymph nodes and into the breast cells, increasing breast cancer risk.
You’d be relieved to know there’s no evidence this claim with studies backing it.