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Myths & Truths about Breast Cancer

October 7, 2009

Here’s what you should know about breast cancer.

Myth #1: Breast cancer is a death sentence.
Truth: If detected and treated early enough, breast cancer need not result in death. Early detection can help save lives and breasts.

Myth #2: Breast cancer is hereditary.
Truth: Breast cancer is not always hereditary. Over 90% of women in Singapore with breast cancer have no known family history of the disease.

Myth #3: If I have bigger breasts, I have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
Truth: This has not been proven by research. Someone who has smaller breasts has an equal chance of getting breast cancer as one who is well-endowed. Being overweight, however, does increase your risk.

Myth #4: Breast cancer is contagious.
Truth: You cannot be infected with breast cancer through physical contact (touching, drinking out of the same cup, sharing food, or having sex).

Myth #5: Deodorants, anti-perspirants or wearing bras cause cancer.
Truth: To date, there is no scientifically proven data to support these claims.

Myth #6: All breast lumps are cancerous.
Truth: Nine out of 10 breast lumps are not cancer. Most lumps detected under the age of 30 are benign.

Myth #7: An injury to the breast can cause cancer.
Truth: A bruise or hit to the breast won’t cause cancer. If cancer develops in a spot that has been injured, it is just a coincidence.

Myth #8: As long as I have had a mammogram that did not show any abnormalities, I am safe from breast cancer.
Truth: Cancer can occur at any time. That’s why mammograms should be done annually or once in two years, along with monthly Breast Self Examination and yearly Clinical Breast Examinations so that any changes or abnormalities can be picked up early and checked by a doctor.

Myth #9: Breast cancer lumps are painful and grow fast.
Truth: Breast cancer lumps tend to be painless, hard, fixed in position and persist even after a few menstrual cycles. They usually grow slowly. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, take a little time to talk to relevant people or even seek a second opinion before deciding on treatment.

Myth #10: Mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) is the only way to get rid of breast cancer.
Truth: Mastectomy is not required for all breast cancers. Thanks to new technology, recent research and improved therapies, those diagnosed with breast cancer have a variety of options, depending on the stage and type of breast cancer.

Extracted from Breast Cancer Foundation site.

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