Last year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we took a look at some of the most common breast cancer myths and misconceptions. If you missed it, take a few minutes to read the post and learn a few of the most common misconceptions. We only tackled a few, though, so this year we’re going to look at a few more common myths and misconceptions about breast cancer. Educate yourself, and make sure your friends and family know what to look for, in order to reduce the potential impact of this deadly disease!
Myth: If I Find a Lump, it’s Probably Cancerous
You’re doing your monthly breast self exams, right? If you do find a lump, don’t stress. Most women immediately worry that any lumps they find are cancerous, but roughly 80% of lumps in women’s breasts are caused by non-cancerous changes to the breast tissue, including cysts and other non-issue situations. If you do find a lump, you should have your doctor check it out, but 4 out of 5 times it’s benign and is nothing to worry about.
Misconception: Breast Implants can Cause Cancer
Medical research hasn’t found any links between breast implants and breast cancer. As far as we know at this time, there’s no causal link between implants and breast cancer. The only issue with implants is that standard mammograms don’t always work as well for women who have implants, so sometimes these women need additional X-rays to examine breast tissue.
Myth: If I Have Small Breasts, My Cancer Risk Goes Down
There’s no medical connection between the size of breasts and the risk of developing breast cancer. Larger breasts may be more difficult to examine than smaller breasts, but there’s no difference in risk. Women of all breast sizes should commit to routine screenings and checkups.
Misconception: Caffeine can Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer
Hah! I’d never heard this one before, but it’s a good thing it’s false given the amount of coffee I consume! Medical researchers have found no connection between drinking caffeine and developing breast cancer. In fact, early research indicates that caffeine could actually lower the risk of developing cancer, but the research isn’t conclusive yet.
Myth: Annual Mammograms can Increase the Risk of Developing Cancer
One persistent breast cancer rumor has to do with the fact that you’re exposed to radiation when you undergo a mammogram. The rumor insists that getting annual mammograms exposes you to so much radiation that your risk of developing breast cancer goes up. While mammograms do involve radiation, the amount is small, and the risks are tiny when compared with the huge preventative benefits that come from testing and early detection.
In reality, there are so many breast cancer myths and misconceptions that we could spend weeks writing about them all in detail. Take the time to read up, and educate yourself about the real risks – and ways to mitigate them. Regular testing is key to diagnosing and catching breast cancer early, which dramatically increases the survival rate.