4 Common Breast Cancer Myths

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Breast cancer awareness should really be an all-year theme. Don’t you think?

It’s definitely a health issue that impacts all of us, regardless of whether or not you develop the disease.

Below, we’ll go over some frustratingly-common breast cancer myths that may actually impede awareness.

Let's dispel these once and for all, people!

Myth 1: Wearing A Bra Causes Breast Cancer

Proponents argue that a bra restricts lymph flow which could hamper the removal of harmful toxins. 

So far, research shows the risk for breast cancer is the same regardless of a woman’s choice to wear a bra. A recent study published in October 2014 found no correlation.1

If you're still concerned, try wearing a well-fitted bra without underwire.

Myth 2: Wearing Antiperspirants Increases Breast Cancer Risk

This concern initially came about when aluminium was found in breast tumors.2

Aluminium is a common ingredient in antiperspirants and prevents sweat from reaching the body’s surface. Proponents argue that sweat eliminates toxins which could otherwise be carcinogenic.

While we see the logic in this, forgoing antiperspirants isn’t really necessary. Most of the toxins eliminated by the human body are excreted via the digestive and urinary systems.

If you still remain concerned, opt to wear deodorants with natural ingredients. Deodorants do not prevent the release of sweat.

Myth 3: Breast Cancer Only Affects Older Women

One of the risk factors for breast cancer is age. Breast cancer typically impacts women older than 50; yet according to the results of a recent study, more women in their 20s and 30s are coming down with the disease.3

The cause is unknown, but environmental factors are thought to play a role. Breast checkups are important, regardless if a woman is in her 20's or 80's.

Myth 4: Breast Implants Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Research shows that breast implants don’t increase the risk of breast cancer.4 However, they can make detection more difficult.

The radiation emitted during a mammogram doesn’t penetrate the implant sufficiently to capture a complete image of the breast.

In women with breast implants, having an MRI is a more accurate method of detection.5, 6

References:

  1. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Oct;23(10):2181-5. 
  2. J Inorg Biochem. 2013 Nov;128:250-6. 
  3. JAMA. 2013;309(8):800-805. 
  4. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2001; 107(6):1393-407. 
  5. Indian J Radiol Imaging. May 2009; 19(2): 161–169. 
  6. Clin Radiol. 2009 Dec;64(12):1175-80.

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