Myths About Breast Cancer

With tons of information circling the internet these days, we want to help clear things up and bust ten of the most common myths you may hear about breast cancer.

Myth #1 - Breast Cancer is always hereditary.

The truth: While some breast cancers have a genetic component, such as the BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2 genetic mutation, most breast cancer cases are not hereditary and are known to typically occur in people with no family history of breast cancer.

Regardless of family history, it’s important to undergo regular breast screenings and embrace breast health.

Myth #2 - Finding any breast lump means you have breast cancer.

The truth: Not all breast lumps are cancerous. Most are benign (non-cancerous) and are things, such as cysts, fibroadenomas or lumps due to normal hormonal changes in the breast. However, any new lump or change in your breast should be checked by your doctor to determine its cause and appropriate management.

Myth #3 - Only women can get breast cancer.

The truth: While breast cancer is much more common in women, men can also develop the disease. About 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses are in men, so, men should be aware of any abnormal changes in their breast tissue and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Myth #4 - Small-breasted women have a lower risk of breast cancer.

The truth: Breast cancer risk is not determined by breast size. Regardless of breast size, all women should be aware of their breast health and engage in regular self-breast checks and screenings.

Myth #5 - Having a breast injury or trauma can cause breast cancer.

The truth: Aside from a breast injury being extremely painful and unpleasant, there is no evidence to suggest that a breast injury or trauma can cause breast cancer. Breast cancer develops due to complex genetic and environmental factors.

Myth #6 - Breast cancer only occurs in older women over 50.

The truth: While the risk of breast cancer does increase with age, breast cancer can occur at any age, including in younger women. A poll done in 2022 by Cancer Australia showed that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women aged 20 to 39.

Women of all ages need to be aware of their breast health and seek medical attention as soon as possible if they notice any abnormal changes.

Myth #7 - A family history of breast cancer guarantees you will develop breast cancer.

The truth: While a family history of breast cancer can increase your risk, it doesn’t guarantee that you will develop the disease. Many people with a family history never develop breast cancer. Regardless of family history, regular screenings and early detection remain essential.

Myth #7 - Breast cancer always causes noticible symptoms.

The truth: In some cases, breast cancer may not cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. Regular self-breast checks, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are essential for early detection, even without noticeable symptoms.

Myth #9 - Breast implants can prevent breast cancer prevention.

The truth: There is no evidence to suggest that breast implants prevent the detection of breast cancer. However, women with breast implants may need imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI to ensure complete visibility of breast tissue.

Myth #10 -All types of breast cancer require the same treatment.

The truth: Not all types of breast cancer are the same, and different subtypes may require different treatments. Breast cancer is a complex disease with many subtypes, such as hormone receptor-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative breast cancer, each having unique characteristics and treatment approaches.

Treatment plans are individualised based on factors like cancer stage, tumour characteristics, patient’s overall health, and other medical considerations. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy or a combination of these approaches.

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