World Cancer Day 2020: 5 myths about breast cancer that you must stop believing this instant

Breast cancer is the number one killer in women and it can be completely prevented. So this World Cancer Day, let’s bust some myths about the disease and come out on top
breast cancer detection
Early detection of breast cancer is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 4 Feb 2020, 13:23 pm IST
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Cancer. Such a heavy word and a heavier disease. Did you know that a stat released by World Health Organization, on World Cancer Day revealed that one in 10 Indians will develop cancer in their lifetime? The report also states that one in 15 will die from the disease.

If the data is to be believed then of the six major types of cancer recorded in India, the highest prevalence is that of breast cancer in women. According to the WHO, breast cancer sees over a lakh cases being reported annually.

A sedentary lifestyle paired with unhealthy and questionable lifestyle choices has seen a marked increase in the number of cases of breast cancer being reported globally.

According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol consumption, certain oral contraceptives, obesity, and environmental toxins are some of the causes of breast cancer. And with the spread of the disease, falsehoods about it are equally widespread.

So, here are a few myths about breast cancer–especially around screening and mammography–that we’re busting right now. 

Myth 1: Breast lumps are always cancerous
Breast lumps are not always indicative of breast cancer. The lump may be caused due to fibrocystic condition, which is common in women between the ages of 20 up until menopause. A lump may also be benign, so you need mammography done to confirm cancer. 

breast cancer myths
Not all breast lumps are a cause of concern. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Myth 2: Sore breasts are a sign of cancer
It is common for women of childbearing age to feel pain in their breasts at certain times during their menstrual cycles. But that does not necessarily mean she has cancer. 

Also, read: Here’s how you can give yourself monthly breast self-examinations

Myth 3: Treatment for breast cancer means amputating breasts
A person with breast cancer, who undergoes surgery, does not need to undergo a complete mastectomy. Women, who get diagnosed early can get effective treatment with just a partial mastectomy. Not to mention, surgical reconstruction of the breast is also a possibility nowadays.

Myth 3: Chemotherapy is the only non-surgical treatment for breast cancer Chemotherapy sounds scary and is often prescribed as a treatment for cancer. But, the recommendation of chemotherapy depends on the type, stage and recurrence score. Sometimes, hormone therapy could be prescribed instead, depending on the type of cancer cells present in the body.

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Myth 4: Only women get breast cancer
While rare, men having breast cancer is not completely unheard of. According to a study published in The Journal of Breast Health, male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare disease, accounting for less than one per cent of all breast cancer diagnosed worldwide.

Myth 5: Radiation from mammograms can be harmful
According to data released by Johns Hopkins University in the US, a mammogram does use radiation, but it is a very small amount and within medical guidelines. It is absolutely safe.

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