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Breast Cancer: Choosing Facts Over Myths

150 150 Shefali Sabharanjak

Myth 1: All lumps in the breast are cancerous. lump
Fact: Nothing could be farther from the truth. Lumps or knots in breast tissue can be formed due to other reasons like shrinkage of fat cells in the breast as well. Cysts and benign tumors may also be present and are felt as lumps, on a breast self-examination. Although cancerous cells can also show up as a lump in the breast, all lumps are not formed because of cancer. Your physician is the best person to diagnose the cause(s) of the lump and decide whether you have cancer or not.

 

deoMyth 2: Deodorants containing parabens and anti-perspirants can cause breast Cancer.

Fact: There is no conclusive evidence to support this myth that deodorants and under-arm sprays and roll-ons cause breast cancer. Cosmetics containing parabens and aluminium compounds as anti-perspirants do not cause breast cancer.

 

Myth 3: I am a man. How can I have breast cancer?man

Fact: Men can ALSO develop breast cancer. Admittedly, the percentage of men who develop breast cancer IS low, when you compare that to the percentage of women diagnosed with breast cancer, in any population. However, cases of breast cancer in men are known. One such case was analysed at Strand. You can read about it here.

 

Myth 4: If I do not have faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, then my risk for breast cancer is low.

breast cancer genesFact: BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, when mutated (not normal), can definitely increase a person’s risk for breast cancer. Conversely, having normal versions of these two genes in your DNA, can put you into the low risk category. However, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are not the ONLY genes that play a role in the development of breast cancer. There are other genes like NBN, PALB2, STK11, PTEN, etc. which can also cause breast cancer. It is always useful to know your genetic status vis-à-vis the whole set of known genes. Tests for multiple genes are available in India.

 

painMyth 5: Bumps on the breast can cause breast cancer

Fact: Physical trauma to the breast is definitely painful but does not cause the cells in the breast to turn cancerous. However, if a slight push or shove causes tremendous pain, it would be good to consult your doctor. If there is a pre-existent tumor, the pain might be an indicator. One of our champion cancer survivors, Ms. Dimple Bawa, has had a similar experience.

AUTHOR

Shefali Sabharanjak

All stories by: Shefali Sabharanjak