Breast Cancer : Myths

There are several myths regarding breast cancer. Let us bust these one at a time:

Breast Cancer is always hereditary: Untrue

A majority of the patients suffering from breast cancer in our country have no family history, i.e. they have no history of any members in the family suffering from breast or ovarian cancer. Familial breast cancers are seen in a very small minority of patients. A significant family history is that of a patient’s mother, sister or first blood relative having a history of developing breast or ovarian cancer, especially before the age of 60 years.

Breast Cancer can spread to close family members: Untrue

Breast Cancer is not infectious or contagious. So, it cannot happen to anyone just by staying with a person suffering from breast cancer. The patient does not have to stay away/ isolated from the rest of the family members, such as from babies, children or the elderly. This is of tremendous importance, as the social stigma of breast cancer is still quite strong in India.In fact, this is the time for family members to stand united and help the patient fight the disease.

Breast Cancer happens only in the elderly age group: Untrue/ partially true

We are now seeing younger patients developing breast cancer. Though it is still primarily seen in elderly women, recent statistics have revealed an increase in the incidence of breast cancer in women in their 30s and 40s.

Nothing can prevent you from developing Breast Cancer: Untrue

Obesity and improper lifestyle are implicated in a majority of diseases and cancer is no exception. A moderate lifestyle, with a balanced diet and optimum body weight will go a long way in preventing diseases. Obesity is linked to hyperestrogenism, a condition where there is excessive Oestrogen in the body. Oestrogen is a hormone linked with breast cancer.

Bras (especially underwired bras) cause Breast Cancer: Untrue

The biggest myth of the decade has finally been busted by a longstanding study which published its findings recently. It has lain to rest all the myths surrounding bras and their alleged ill-effects and has categorically stated that wearing bras does not increase the risk of one’s developing breast cancer.