What LIES are you believing about breast cancer?

I hate to tell you this but... you might be believing a few lies about breast cancer.

Its okay. I don't blame you for your lack of knowledge about this disease. Unless you've been through it, or have had someone very close to you go through it, its not likely that you've learned all that you can know based on a few pink ribbon campaigns in October. There are a lot of things that I don't know much about either...but I happen to know a little bit about this disease so I'm sharing the knowledge of my experience with you.

I'm here to do a little myth-busting today. Think of me as your breast cancer equivalent of a Ghost Buster. (remember Ghost Busters?)

*bursts into song.... "Who you gon' call?? Nic-busters!"
Hmm... that sounded cuter in my head. Oh well. Off we go...

10 LIES you may believe about breast cancer (and the truth that you may not know)

  1. Feeling a lump means you have breast cancer. Okay... I started with this one because I found my breast cancer by discovering a lump when doing a BSE (breast self-exam). Now, even though I found my breast cancer this way, you have to know that feeling a lump does not automatically mean that you have breast cancer and you're going to die a horrible death. Well, you may die a horrible death (I'm no future predictor) but more likely than not, any lumps you feel will not be breast cancer. Our breasts are naturally lumpy and unless you feel yourself up regularly during different times of the month, you may feel something that is just normal changes in your breast tissue. Also, if you do feel something that feels odd to you, it may not be cancerous. It could be a benign cyst. Best course of action if you feel a lump is to see your doctor and have a clinical exam done. 
  2. Men don't have to worry about breast cancer or breast exams because its a woman's disease. Welp... let me bust this bubble for you once and for all. Men can and do get breast cancer. It is rare but it does happen. Let me repeat that... Men DO get breast cancer. If you are, or know a man in your life who feels something odd in his chest/breast area, please encourage him to see a doctor immediately for a clinical exam. And... if, for some odd reason, you think that its not "manly" for a man to worry about breast cancer... Shaft was a bad... *shut your mouth* And he is a breast cancer survivor. Well, the actor who played Shaft, Richard Roundtree, is a breast cancer survivor. So, doesn't get more manly than that. Bloop!
  3. Antiperspirants and/or deodorants cause breast cancer. I know this one is hard to digest because it seems so plausible. But the truth is that there isn't any conclusive scientific evidence that this is true. My best advice, if you feel worried, use a more natural product. I often use Tom's of Maine. Okay, real talk -- it took me a bit to get accustomed to it. It felt a little sticky/strange to me at first. But I got used to it. So can you. 
  4. No family history of breast cancer means that you're in the clear. Sorry but nope. That isn't true. Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. So, stay aware of your breast health anyway. 
  5. Family history of breast cancer means that you will definitely get it. Strange that this too is a lie (okay myth) that many people believe. But again, not true. Having family history does increase your likelihood of developing the disease but it is not a guarantee. 
  6. Lumps are the only sign of breast cancer. Ohh... this one is so wrong. Many, many cases of breast cancer are found and there is no lump at all. Sometimes the cancer is so small, it is only noticed on a mammogram. Sometimes the symptoms are not lumps at all -- skin changes, discharge from the nipple, can be signs of a problem. But keep in mind, some people have no signs at all. I met a great sister a few months ago who is a survivor and she had NO symptoms, NO signs of breast cancer at all. Just a feeling that something was wrong. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts and not even 40 years old. 
  7. There's nothing you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer. *slowly raises hand*  I believed this most of my life. I have learned better though. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise, alcohol in moderation, reduced meat consumption, keeping your weight moderate -- all things that we know are good for us anyway, also work to reduce risks for breast cancer. Not a cure. Not a definitive answer, but will generally boost your health. A good reason to keep pressing those new year's resolutions.
  8. A breast injury will become cancer. No, no, no, no, no! If, for some reason, you injure your breast... that does not mean that you will have breast cancer. So if you were hit with a softball (ouch!) try not to worry. That bruise won't become cancer. It will hurt though. It would hurt if it hit your leg or your arm too... just saying.
  9. Mammograms spread breast cancer. I cannot break down for you the science behind mammography. I don't know how it works but I do know that it works to discover breast cancer. But it doesn't spread the cancer around. Neither does a MRI or any other test. They don't break the skin and they don't touch the inside of your breast. Its not possible to spread the cancer cells around if they are never touched. Let me add, mammograms don't hurt so badly that you should skip them either. It is uncomfortable but not an earth-shattering pain. You can handle it. Get it done and breathe easier.
  10. Underwire bras or tight bras will give you breast cancer. Prior to my diagnosis, I was a big boobie girl. I wore an H-cup bra. (that's pretty doggone big by any definition) So wearing underwire bras was a requirement for me. I heard this lie quite a bit before I was diagnosed and it disturbed me, but I didn't have a choice in wearing underwire bras. One of the first things that I asked my oncologist about was wearing underwire bras. He assured me that there was no connection between underwire bras and breast cancer. That said, uncomfortable though they may be, underwire bras don't cause cancer. They're just not fun. Unfortunate but not a crime. 

There are a lot more lies myths out there about this disease. But these were the top 10 that were on my mind. 

The following links will provide more information.


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