Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in South Africa. Early detection of the condition can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis. About 90% of patients survive for many years after diagnosis when breast cancer is detected at the early stages.
Regular self-breast examination and regular mammograms are key to early detection. Presenting yourself early for treatment may result in more effective treatment, leading to a reduction in pain and suffering and a significant decrease in the loss of life.
In this blog, we'll be debunking the most common breast cancer-related myths. Let's begin!
#Myth 1 Breast cancer only happens to older adults
“While it is true that breast cancer risk increases as women age, and the average age of a new breast cancer diagnosis is 61 years, breast cancer can occur much earlier,” Dr. Zeidman told MNT.
5% of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women under the age of 40 years. There have been reports of women in their early 20s who were diagnosed. There is typically a strong family history in these young women.
#Myth 2 Wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer
The claim that underwire bras cause breast cancer has been debunked years ago and has been proven that there is no link between wearing bras and breast cancer. According to the myth, wearing your bra every night or for too long daily prevents your pores from being able to breathe. Sweat accumulates and toxins build up which are believed to cause breast cancer. This claim is obviously false.
#Myth 3 No one in my family has breast cancer therefore I won't get it.
This is a myth that Dr. Zeidman is familiar with, he told Medical News Today: “It is very common for [people] with a new breast cancer diagnosis to tell me how shocked they are considering that they have no family history.”
“I then respond by stating that the vast majority of [people who] I see with new breast cancer have no risk factors. In fact, the most significant risk factor for developing breast cancer is being a woman.
Only 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. The other 90% are largely due lifestyle and environmental factors.
If you are a woman and at least 40 years old, please get your screening mammograms.
#Myth 4 Deodorants cause breast cancer.
There is no evidence to back the claims that antiperspirants cause cancer. People sometimes worry about whether chemicals in common products such as cosmetics or toiletries could cause cancer, but there is no good scientific evidence to show that these products affect the risk of cancer.
#Myth 5 Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Most breast lumps are caused by benign (noncancerous) changes, cysts, or other conditions. Breast tissue is changing all the time because of fluctuating hormone levels, especially during times of menstruation and breastfeeding.
While most breast lumps will not turn out to be cancer, lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast), or change over time, should always be checked by your doctor.
Breast Cancer Support Groups
It's so important to know that so many women have fought breast cancer and have come out stronger on the other side. Know that you are not alone and there are so many humans who care and have support systems and groups to educate and help you get through everything. Below are a few organizations and helplines to get in touch with if you have any questions, are in need of support or would like to donate to the cause.
Don't know how to do a self-breast examination? No worries, we got you! Find all you need to know about how to check yourself here.
In honour of Breast Cancer month, we'll be promoting our pretty pink gems all month long to help raise awareness. In this week's blog, we're offering support systems to survives and all the info you need to make an informed decision about the reality of breast cancer and what your options are.
Sending nothing but love, light and sanitized kisses!