Sensational newspaper headlines, online news articles and chat rooms, even everyday conversation are all sources of perpetuating popular myths and misconceptions about breast cancer. Dispelling such myths can go some way to remove confusion or uncertainty that, left unchecked could hinder good prevention or even treatment decisions.
MYTH – Breast cancer is a single disease
- There are several types of breast cancer, the slower growing Luminal A and more aggressive Luminal B incorporate the ER+ types; HER2 enriched breast cancer that responds to Herceptin and other HER2-targeting treatments, and basal-like (also called triple negative) that are associated with BRCA1 gene mutation carriers. Read more about these types and treatments here.
MYTH – Breast cancer only affects women
- Though rare, breast cancer can occur in men due to the presence of duct cells in breast tissue, and is particularly associated with male carriers of a BRCA2 gene mutation. Around 1 man a day is diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK.
MYTH – There is always a lump
- In some cases, a lump cannot be felt but other symptoms are experienced such as a change in direction, inversion of or discharge from the nipple, skin dimpling, or change in breast shape or colour.
MYTH – Women with larger breasts are more likely to get breast cancer
- In fact, women who have DENSER breasts and are more likely to get breast cancer, as there is more glandular tissue (ducts and lobes, which can become cancerous) vs fatty tissue, and smaller breasts tend to be denser.
MYTH – Underwired bra’s, deodorants, breast implants, bumping or bruising breasts increases risk
- These factors have not been associated with breast cancer. Being overweight, not being physically active and eating lots of red and processed meat have all been linked with increased risk.