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Breast Cancer : Myths Vs Facts

INTRODUCTION

Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in women and can be treated in 70 to 80 percent of patients in an early-stage, non-metastatic illness. Advanced breast cancer with distant organ metastases is regarded as incurable with currently available therapy.

Breast cancer is a term used to describe malignancies that develop from breast tissue, most frequently from the lobules that feed the milk ducts with milk or the inner lining of the milk ducts.

Breast cancer is the second most prevalent non-skin cancer worldwide (behind lung cancer) and the fifth most common cause of cancer mortality among women, accounting for 10.4% of all cancer incidences among them.

FACTS VS MYTHS ABOUT BREAST CANCER

MYTH: The presence of a breast lump indicates breast cancer.

FACT: In particular when it first appears, breast cancer may not produce a lump.

Breast lumps that turn out to be cancer are uncommon. However, you should never disregard any changes in breast tissue or a new, persistent lump you find in your breast.

MYTH: There is no risk of breast cancer for women without a family history of the disease.

FACT: Most breast cancer patients don't have any close family members who also have the disease. Regardless of any family history, talk to your doctor about mammography recommendations and arrange for regular screenings. Being a woman and being older are the two main risk factors for developing breast cancer.

MYTH: Young women are becoming more prone to breast cancer.

FACT: Although all women are at risk for breast cancer, 95 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women ages 40 and over; and more than three quarters occur among women over 50.

MYTH: Men don't get breast cancer

FACT: People often assume that men don’t get breast cancer. While breast cancer is much more common in women, men do have a small amount of breast tissue and can develop breast cancer as well. Unfortunately, men are often diagnosed with breast cancer at a more advanced stage. The main reason is they don’t have routine screening mammograms like women do to find breast cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat. 

Suggested Read: Preventing breast cancer begins with early detection

MYTH: The early detection of breast cancer is ensured through yearly mammograms.

FACT:  The finest early detection tool we have is a mammogram. Overall, mammograms are around 80% effective at detecting cancer when it is present. There is a chance of receiving a false-negative result (when a mammogram misses a cancer that is present). Even though it occurs about 20% of the time, frequent tests lower this probability. 

MYTH: Breast cancer is over when treatment is over.

FACT: In the breast or in other parts of the body, breast cancer can return or recur. A recurrence is typically identified by symptoms lasting longer than two weeks or by an unusual physical examination result. 

MYTH: Breast cancer can be caused by wearing a bra.

FACT: There is no evidence about the link between bras and breast cancer.

MYTH: Everyone's breast cancer is the same

FACT: There are numerous subtypes of breast cancer, and each one responds differently to treatment.

Distinctive clinical characteristics that vary between different breast cancer types in different women, such as: 

  • The tumor's size and grade.
  • Whether or not lymph nodes are involved (nodal status).
  • Wormone receptor-positive or negative.
  • HER2/Neu positive or negative.

MYTH: If breast cancer is diagnosed when the tumor is small, it can be cured

FACT: In some cases, even when breast cancer is detected early and the tumor is very small, the breast cancer cells have already spread to other parts of the body. The spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body (metastasis) is responsible for over 90% of deaths related to breast cancer.

MYTH: In terms of survival, removing the entire breast is better than just removing the cancer.

FACT: Completely removing the breast—known as mastectomy—is not more effective than just taking out the cancer—known as lumpectomy.

MYTH: Breast cancer increases with silicone breast implants.

FACT: Silicone breast implants can cause formation of scar tissue in the breast, but several studies have found that they do not increase breast cancer risk.

MYTH: You will develop breast cancer if you have the BRCA gene.

FACT: The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which support cell development and division as well as DNA repair, are present in everyone. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene families are among those known to have mutations or changes that can be handed down through families and raise the chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer. This mutation is present in between 5 and 10% of breast cancer patients. Not all women with a propensity for breast and/or ovarian cancer carry a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, and not all people with these mutations  on to develop cancer. A negative test result is not a guarantee that you won't have cancer, either.

REFERENCES

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255438/

https://www.stopbreastcancer.org/information-center/myths-truths/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK179047/

https://www.stopbreastcancer.org/information-center/myths-truths/

https://www.aetna.com/health-guide/breast-cancer-myths.html

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths

 

 

 

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