Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Series: Part 2

Over the years, as more strange diseases come to light, we create more and more rumours on what we need to do (or not do) to prevent those diseases. Well, this month is about promoting awareness for breast cancer. So you know I couldn’t go through it without talking about some of those cancer myths and facts. Here are a few:

Cancer Myth: Wearing an underwire bra or a tight bra increases your risk of getting breast cancer.
Cancer Fact: I’m not sure where this started from, but I remember hearing it a lot as a child. There is no scientific evidence that supports this. It probably started this way:
Mrs. Big Boobs: “This underwire bra is so tight, man.”
Mrs. Little Boobs: “Hmm… that thing will give you cancer one of these days.”
Or maybe it was Victoria’s Secret that started the rumour with all their wireless bras. Whoever started it though, it has not been proven to be true. 

Cancer Myth: If you get implants, you’ll probably get cancer.
Cancer Fact: Sorry to burst your bubble (or maybe not), but studies have shown no link between breast implants and your risk of breast cancer. One thing that has been proven to be true is that breast implants make it harder to detect breast cancer through a mammogram so additional X-rays and tests have to be done. So maybe you’ll go ahead and increase that bust size now? I kid, I kid (before I start getting worried calls from my mother). There are still other dangers with getting implants so research carefully before you make any decisions.

Cancer Myth: Smaller boobies, less risk.
Cancer Fact: This is not true at all. Whether you are flat-chested or lugging major jugs, you have an equal risk of getting breast cancer. On the positive side for the less endowed ladies, smaller breasts make breast exams easier to perform and that may mean that you can catch lumps easier than with larger breasts. You know, some consolation...

Cancer Myth: Lump = Breast Cancer.
Cancer Fact: First of all, a lot of lumps are benign. In reality about 8 out of 10 of detected lumps are benign. You can let out a sigh of relief now. This is why when doctors find something, they tend not to worry until they have run further tests. If you find something in your exam, consult your doctor and get tested before you start to worry. On the other hand, lumps are also not the only indication of potential cancer risk. You may feel no physical lumps at all, and a mammogram could still catch breast cancer. So please keep an eye out for other symptoms like tenderness, discharge, swelling, pain, itchiness, or any other changes in your breasts. Report any changes to your doctor so you can catch it early! As I always say, your doctor wants you to report changes to him/her. It's what they get paid for.

Cancer Myth: Caffeine causes breast cancer.
Cancer Fact: As much as I'd like to lie and say that it does so you'll drink less coffee, no, it doesn’t. Drink your coffee if you please. But, you know, maybe come over to the bright side and drink some tea as well.

Cancer Myth: Mammograms themselves can give you breast cancer because of the radiation.
Cancer Fact: While mammograms do expose the body to radiation, it is a very minute amount compared to the potential benefits. Plus, you only get them once a year. Really, with that small a risk, just go and get it done. Imagine how much pain it could save you if it helped to detect cancer early.

Cancer Myth: Whether you are overweight or regular size, your breast cancer risk is all the same.
Cancer Fact: Actually, studies have shown that overweight women have a higher risk of breast cancer than regular sized women. Plus, being overweight also has a lot of risks for other diseases.

Cancer Myth: Only women over 50 can have breast cancer.
Cancer Fact: Every woman with boobs has breast cancer risk, independent of age. However, as you grow older, the risk increases. So depending on your age, there are different steps to take to make sure you are doing all you can to reduce your risk, as well as catch the disease early. Please read my post from last week to see what you can be doing based on your age group.

Cancer Myth: Deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer.
Cancer Fact: We are all too familiar with this one. The circulated rumours have been that antiperspirants clog the lymph glands in your armpits, which increases the risk of breast cancer because your armpits are right next to your breasts. Now, this is the one rumour that I won’t totally shoot down, not because it’s true, but because there is still ongoing research. So far, there is no proof connecting breast cancer to antiperspirants. The myth started because less women in Africa compared to America were known to have breast cancer, and less women in Africa use antiperspirants. However, it has been countered with the fact that less women in Europe use deodorants/antiperspirants, but more women in Europe have breast cancer than Americans. So the summary is that so far no link has been found between deodorants, antiperspirants, and breast cancer. However, there is still more research being done on the issue.

I hope you learned something new. Please share if you have some more.

Cheers Eights and Weights! Ladies, remember, let's do all we have to do to save those tatas. And gents, remember, you could save a life by groping your wife.

1 comment:

  1. Read this because I have women in my life I might need to educate and I have learned alot reading...

    - LDP


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