Oct 01 , 2021
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
While many of us may think there is already plenty of awareness of breast cancer these days, it’s quite surprising how many myths exist alongside the facts.
Some breast cancer myths still continue despite a lack of evidence, leading to unnecessary worry and can even hinder good prevention and treatment decisions.
Let’s untangle the facts from the fiction with this common myths which persist about breast cancer.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
Source provided by Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia
Myth: Getting breast cancer is a death sentence!
Fact: If medical treatment is received at early stage the chances of survival can be almost 100%
Myth: Breast cancer is contagious!
Fact: You cannot “catch” it from someone or transfer it to someone else’s body. A person’s cancer cells cannot survive inside another person’s body because their immune system would destroy the foreign cells.
Myth: Men don’t get breast cancer!
Fact: Most men will not get breast cancer. Male breast cancer is a rare disease. The ratio of male-to-female breast cancer diagnosis is 1 man to every 100 women.
Myth: See a doctor only if the breast lump is painful!
Fact: A cancerous lump in the breast is usually a hard mass, it can be is painless, doesn’t move when pushed and it grows over time. Some cancerous lumps can be painful.
Myth: Radiation exposure during a mammogram can cause cancer.
Fact: The radiation in the mammogram is a very small amount and is within the medical guidelines. Mammography is highly regulated by FDA. There is constant background radiation in the world that we are exposed to every day. The radiation dose from a mammogram is equal to about two months of background radiation for the average woman.
Myth: Wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer.
Fact: Scientific evidence does not support a link between wearing an underwire bra (or any type of bra) and breast cancer risk. There’s no biological reason they would be linked.
Myth: Applying underarm deodorant causes breast cancer.
Fact: Chemicals in underarm and antiperspirants DO NOT get absorbed through the skin or interfere with lymph circulation or cause toxins to build up in the breast.
Myth: Ultrasound can replace mammogram in screening for breast cancer!
Fact: Ultrasound cannot take on image of the whole breast at once. It may not be able to take a clear image of areas deep inside the breast. It does not show micro calcifications
Myth: Massage on the breast prevent breast cancer. Cancerous lump in the breast be removed with massaging the breast
Fact: In the case of “massage” to move the lymph (especially the beautician version of lymphatic massage) and to massage away lumpiness or a lump of the breast, please also be wary, as sometimes, women develop blue black marks from extra strong pressure, whilst others get inflammation. In addition, women should be aware that the breasts are rarely of smooth texture, and often is uneven and even lumpy to touch. Therefore, if you think you have a lump or your masseur thinks you have a lump, see your doctor and get your breast imaging tests done. Once you have injured your breasts, then, interpretation of the breast imaging tests will be difficult.
The best way to prevent your breast “sagging” is really to ensure your body weight does not vary too much, resulting in the skin becoming lax from overstretching.
There is true lymphatic massage by physiotherapists who have further specialization in this aspect of massage. Some women who have had breast cancer surgery and removal of lymph nodes from their armpits access this service. Why? It is used post-surgery to reduce or manage the complication of the whole arm swelling on the side of the surgery. However, this massage does not prevent breast cancer from occurring.
Have you heard of BCWA?
💗 It stands for Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia, which was founded in 1986 by a group of medical specialists that aims to provide peer support for women with breast cancer. It’s a tax-exempt organisation that has been registered with the Registrar of Societies Malaysia in 1988.
💗 The objective of BCWA is to improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer as well as educate women about breast cancer to reduce the risk of premature mortality.
BCWA provides support to individuals with breast cancer, strengthen their capacity to manage life during and after treatment and also promote public education in regards to breast health issues. 🎀
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