Breast cancer: Myths to stop believing in

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY HEALTH) — Breast cancer is one of the most common oncological diseases. It may seem that society is well informed about the disease, but in reality it turns out that this is far from the case.

A lot of myths and stereotypes have formed around the disease and faith in them is strong enough. Misconceptions about breast cancer are not at all harmless: false information can interfere with timely diagnosis, strengthen fears, and even interfere with seeking medical help.

Together with Ekaterina Ostrovskaya, Medical Director of the Department of Oncology Preparations, Novartis Company , editors of Vesti.Meditsina collected and debunked the most common myths about breast cancer, which you might have believed.

Breast Cancer – An Exclusively Female Disease

In men, breast cancer is much less common than in women. For 99 women, there is only one man with a diagnosis, which in this case sounds like breast cancer . The principles and approaches to treatment depend more on the prevalence of the tumor, its structure than on gender.

With breast cancer, there is always a painful node that can be felt

With breast cancer, seals can actually occur in the tissues, but they will not always be painful. For malignant neoplasms, the appearance of a tumor of an irregular shape, rather dense to the touch, is more often characteristic.

It is important to remember that the presence of education in the mammary gland does not always indicate a malignant process. “Nodes”, even painful ones, can also occur with benign formations, for example, fibroadenomas, and only a thorough examination will help to make a correct diagnosis.

On the other hand, the presence of a malignant tumor in the mammary gland is not always possible to detect about an independent examination, so from time to time it is necessary to undergo examination by a specialist (examination and mammography).

Drinking large amounts of sugar can trigger breast cancer.

Despite the fact that the nature of the diet can affect the risk of various forms of cancer, the likelihood of breast tumors is almost independent of the diet.

Excessive consumption of sweets does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer, but it can lead to excess weight. Obesity is a risk factor that increases the likelihood of developing some forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

Regardless of the type of tumor, the treatment methods are always the same

There are many approaches to treating breast cancer. Medicine is becoming more and more personalized – doctors have learned to select the drugs that act on a particular type of tumor most effectively, combine various methods, creating ever new patterns that destroy the tumor.

Breast cancer is not treated

The development of science and medicine has significantly increased the life expectancy of patients with breast cancer. Despite the fact that it is not possible to finally cope with any form of cancer, this diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

Survival depends on the stage at which the tumor was first detected, the type of tumor, the age of the patient, the type of therapy being performed.

I’m at risk if no one has had breast cancer in my family

No more than 10% of cases are related to hereditary forms of breast cancer. Most of the diagnosed tumors are sporadic (spontaneous) and are in no way associated with congenital mutations in certain genes.

I don’t drink, do not smoke and lead a healthy lifestyle, so I can not worry about the disease
There is no universal way to guarantee the avoidance of breast cancer, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of developing the disease.

For those at risk (by age, heredity, a combination of other factors), it is important to regularly undergo screening examinations. It is also recommended to monitor weight, limit alcohol consumption.

Inconvenient bras, antiperspirants and mobile phones increase the risk of developing breast cancer
No scientific evidence has been obtained that wearing uncomfortable underwear, using mobile phones or using antiperspirant deodorants in any way affects the likelihood of breast tumors.

Annual screening ensures early detection of breast cancer

Despite the fact that regular screening can help detect breast cancer in a timely manner, it cannot be guaranteed to detect the disease at an early stage.

Mammography is the worldwide recognized screening method, but ultrasound is considered an ineffective method for detecting breast tumors. Currently, mammograms are recommended to be performed annually by women older than 50 years.

Breast Cancer Only Older Women

With age, the likelihood of developing breast cancer increases: the probability of getting sick at 30 is 0.004%, and after 80 is 12.5%, but this does not mean that you do not need to pay attention to additional formations in the mammary gland at an earlier age.

Awareness and attention to oneself will help to identify the disease in the early stages, which will allow for the most effective treatment.


This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS HEALTH from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.

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