It’s the top cancer affecting women worldwide, yet there are still common misconceptions about the causes and detection of breast cancer. From deodorant to underwire bras and radiation, we debunk some prevalent myths
Breast cancer affects about 1 in 7 Canadian women during their lifetime, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer. Yet new studies and medical advice reported in the media are often confusing or contradictory. Here, 10 common misconceptions about the causes and detection of breast cancer from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF).
MYTH #1: Antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer
FACT: Several studies have looked into a link between antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer, and there is still no conclusive evidence that using these products increases risk. However, since some deodorants contain aluminum, avoid wearing it when you go for a mammogram since it could lead to an inaccurate screening result by making cancers and other abnormalities more difficult to detect.
MYTH #2: Abortion and miscarriage cause breast cancer
FACT: Studies have shown no association between breast cancer and spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or induced abortion. These findings are supported by reputable organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (U.S.), Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada and the World Health Organization.
MYTH #3: Breast implants cause breast cancer
FACT: Research has shown that having cosmetic breast implants does not increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Implants do, however, make it harder to see breast tissue and abnormalities on mammogram images. Women with breast implants should continue to have regular mammograms, experts say, but they should make sure to alert the screening facility about having implants when booking the appointment. A technique called implant displacement views can be used to more effectively screen women who have implants.
MYTH #4: Wearing an underwire bra causes breast cancer
FACT: Despite a common misconception, wearing an underwire bra — or any other kind of bra — does not raise your risk of breast cancer, researchers say.
MYTH #5: Bruising the breast causes breast cancer
FACT: Similarly, science has not shown that bumping or bruising your breast increases risk of breast cancer.
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