Breast cancer has made quite a buzz among women all around the globe, after Angelina Jolie underwent a Mastectomy. To save yourself from this problem awareness and education are the best solution. Dr. Rohit Malde, Md, Dnb, Frcr(Uk), Consultant-Radiation Oncology at BNH HCG Cancer Center, Mumbai helps us separate fact from fiction.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images
Any lump in the breast is Breast Cancer - More than 80% of lumps felt by women are benign, however this should be evaluated by a doctor who will perform an ultrasound, mammogram and at times organise a biopsy if deemed appropriate. But remember, not every lump is cancerous.
Women under 40 don't get breast cancer - The risk of breast cancer increases with age, women of all ages can develop breast cancer and statistically speaking it is uncommon for women under 25 to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
A Mammogram detects all breast cancers - A mammogram is able to detect only 85% of all breast tumours, as it is harder to detect these tumours in women with dense glandular breast tissue where a doctor may perform additional ultrasound and/or MRI of the breasts.
Breast cancer is a women’s disease - This is not true as men can also be inflicted with breast cancer. Roughly, for every 100 cases of female breast cancer, there is one incident of male breast cancer as well.
If I have no family history of breast cancer, and I exercise, eat right and don’t smoke, I probably won’t get breast cancer - Unfortunately, this is not the case, as 70% of women have no identifiable risk factors. A healthy life style certainly helps with your general health, but does not protect you against cancer.
Antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer - A decade back, this was quite a common myth, which fortunately is not true as substantiated by extensive research performed in studies.
Mammograms can spread cancer, or even cause it - There have been nearly a dozen trials all over the world over the last 3 decades, which has consistently shown that the amount of radiation from mammography is so low, that it is outweighed by the benefits this test offers.
Underwire bras can cause breast cancer - A few years back few enthusiasts felt that an underwire bra potentially obstructed the lymphatic flow, which possibly may have a link of causal association with breast cancers. The good thing is that this is not true as underwire bras are absolutely safe.
If my mother had breast cancer, I will also get Breast cancer - There is a genetic association of breast cancer, and having one family member may put you at twice the risk of cancer. This implies that if your baseline risk of breast cancer was 1.5%, then with the presence of family history this risk increases to 3-4%. However, if breast cancer is hereditary and a few known genes from your mother have been passed on to you like BRCA1 or BRCA2, then the risk of developing breast cancer can be as high as 50-80% during a life time.
Mastectomy is the only treatment for breast cancer - As an alternative to a mastectomy for early breast cancer and select cases of advanced breast cancers, it is now possible to preserve the breasts by performing a breast conserving operation, which is followed by a course of radiotherapy treatment +/- chemotherapy. The results from over a dozen clinical trials comparing mastectomy Vs breast conserving approach are identical, with the added benefit of preserving body image for women.
Pls don’t stop here, Google is there for you for different research on breast cancer. This is very important and must be taken seriously.