Oct 12th, 2013
Author: Maryla Morefit
The fight against breast cancer has become one of the most publicized health awareness campaigns in history. This high profile has had a tremendous impact on educating people about the disease, but the movement’s popularity, especially in the Internet Age, has also lead to an overwhelming amount of misinformation. As myths spread across the Web, women (and even men) have become confused about their risks and when they should be tested. Here are a few myths and facts to help clear up some confusion and a few unanswered questions you may have.
Breast cancer kills more woman than heart disease:
- The fact of this is that, heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. It kills 10 times more women (about 400,000) each year than breast cancer does (about 40,000). In fact, heart disease claims the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined. Yet only one in five women knew that heart disease is their biggest health threat.
Breast cancer mainly strikes woman with a family history of the disease:
- Inherited factors only account for about 10 percent of breast cancer cases. Instead, the leading risk factors for the disease are being female and getting older, because risk rises with age. Two out of three cases of invasive breast cancer occur in women ages 55 or older.
Small-breasted woman are less likely to get breast cancer:
- Breast size has absolutely no influence on the likelihood of developing breast cancer. What matters is breast density, because women with dense breast tissue are at increased risk. Compounding the problem, dense breast tissue can also make mammograms less accurate, meaning that cancer may not be caught as early. If you’re 40 or older and have dense breasts, talk to your doctor about combining an additional imaging modality, such as breast ultrasound or MRI, with mammography. Your medical provider may also advise more frequent screenings.
Breast cancer only affects woman:
- Each year, about 2,200 men are diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 die from it. While the risk is small, men who develop the disease have a higher rate of mortality than women, largely because they often assume that the lump couldn’t be breast cancer, reports the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Wearing antiperspirant (deodorant) may raise your risk of breast cancer:
- This claim has been circulating on the Internet for about 15 years, with some people worrying that parabens [preservatives used in some antiperspirants] might cause breast cancer because they have some estrogen-like properties. However, there’s no scientific evidence linking parabens, which are also found in many other personal care products (such as lotions and cosmetics), to breast cancer. For those who still prefer natural antiperspirants, there are companies that sell paraben-free products.
Information was reported by specialists at the Cleveland Clinic’s Breast Center.