Five Leading Breast Cancer Myths
By Vera Viner
Myth #1: If I get breast cancer, I will die.
Even though the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer has been rising in recent decades, the number of deaths from breast cancer has been declining. Every year, there is new research coming out on ways to improve both diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Although going through this disease will take a lot of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or drugs), it is very possible to survive this disease; it is NOT a death sentence. Right now, 83% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are alive after five years.
Many women believe that if a close relative gets this disease, they are likely to get it too. However, if this does happen, it only doubles your risk for getting breast cancer. For example, if your mother or sister gets breast cancer and you previously had a 5% chance of getting this disease, your risk of getting breast cancer is now 10%.
Myth #3: If I eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol, I won’t get breast cancer.
Unfortunately, doing these things will only lower your risk – it will not completely eliminate this possibility. However, following these lifestyle adaptations will help you avoid heart disease, diabetes, and plenty of other diseases. It will lower your risk of breast cancer but, unfortunately, over 60% of women that get this disease have no identifiable risk factors. That is why it is vital to keep researching into the causes of breast cancer such as the potential viral cause.
Myth #4: Women can get breast cancer by wearing underwire bras.
There is no evidence whatsoever that underwire bras can cause breast cancer. This myth comes from an inconsistent study that was never published. The theory behind this claim is that underwire bras can trap the lymphatic fluid from draining back into the body. There may be a theory but no evidence behind this myth. There has been no research that has found any link between wearing a bra and breast cancer risk.
Myth #5: Men don’t get breast cancer.
We only hear about women getting this disease and we decorate the month of October with the color pink. However, 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. 1,600 men are diagnosed with this disease every year. Unfortunately, 25% of all men diagnosed with breast cancer do perish from it. This is because men do not know the symptoms related to this disease and the real possibility of contracting breast cancer. Often, breast cancer diagnosed in men is in the later stages and is harder to treat.
Consumer Health Interactive; Copyright Ó 2001 Consumer Health Interactive; updated January 2004.