A number of misconceptions surrounding breast cancer make the disease even more scary and confusing for women. Know the real deal on the symptoms, risks, and other factors of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the type of cancer that affects the cells of your breasts. In the United States, this is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women after skin cancer. This disease develops when a malignant tumor forms in the breast cells. This kind of tumor is essentially a group of cancer cells that have the ability to invade surrounding tissues in the affected area and also spread to other parts of your body. It is not clear what the exact cause of breast cancer is, but certain combinations such as genetics, hormonal, and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk of developing this disease. If your family has a strong history of breast cancer (especially in immediate family members), you should go for regular examinations to rule out the risk of getting the disease. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a number of treatments available that can prevent the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of your body. The treatment options for breast cancer depend on various factors such as the stage, grade, and type of breast cancer that you have, as well as your overall health or other medical conditions that you might have.
Increased research funding and awareness about breast cancer has helped medical professionals to detect the disease earlier, thereby increasing survival rates substantially. While there certainly is increasing awareness about the disease, it is also true that there are a lot of myths floating around regarding this cancer. Let’s separate the myths from the facts to understand breast cancer better.
Myth: Women who don’t have a family history of breast cancer can’t get the disease
Fact: This is not true, as anyone can get breast cancer. Although having a first-degree family member (parent, sibling, etc.) who has the condition can double your risk of developing the disease, you can be affected by it even if there is no family history. In fact, approximately 70 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease. Doctors consider only 5-10 percent of the condition cases as hereditary, which means that they are caused due to the abnormal genes that were passed on to a child from a parent. The other 90 percent of cases are caused mainly due to various environmental and lifestyle factors.
Myth: Wearing a bra puts you at a higher risk of getting breast cancer
Fact: Wearing a bra does not increase your chances of developing the condition, but wearing a bra that is the perfect fit for you is important. This is because an ill-fitting bra can hinder the drainage of lymphatic fluid, thereby increasing your risk of getting the disease. So make sure that you purchase a well-fitting bra on your next shopping trip (sports bras make excellent choices too).
Also, there have been some claims made about under-wired bras causing breast cancer, but this is another misconception. Scientifically, there is no proven link between the type of bra that you choose to wear and the risk of getting the disease. A study done in 2014 researched the link between breast cancer and wearing a bra, but there was no difference found in the risk of breast cancer for women who wore a bra as compared to women who didn’t.
Myth: Women who have large breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer
Fact: The size of your breasts does not dictate whether you are at an increased risk of developing the condition. However, breast density can contribute to this risk as breasts with a higher density have been found to have a higher possibility of getting breast cancer. Typically, large breasts have a lower density. It is true that breasts that are quite large in size may be more difficult to examine than smaller ones, but the only way to know your breast density is to go for a mammogram. Remember that irrespective of your breast size, you should get regular screenings and checkups done to check for any symptoms.
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