Breast Cancer Myths
Because breast cancer is such a mysterious disease, there are many misconceptions about it. Many women assume, for instance, that a blow or any injury to the breast will lead to cancer. Fondling the breast is also said to encourage the growth of cancer and not a few couples have quarreled because of this. Neither of these beliefs is true.
No mater how badly bruised the breast is, you won’t develop breast cancer unless you belong to the high-risk group which we discussed in the previous article. Nor does breast cancer result from touching or fondling the breast.
“It’s purely coincidental that a woman whose breast was injured would report having cancer at the same time. Most likely, the tumor was already there before the breast was injured and it was only after the accident that attention was drawn to the existing cancer,” explained Dr. Corazon A. Ngelangel, professor, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, College of Medicine, and a consultant at the Medical Oncology Section of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital.
Inverted nipples are not a sign of breast cancer if you were born with them. These nipples may be infected from time to time if they are not kept clean and dry but they are not cancerous. A previously erect nipple that becomes retracted, however, is another thing. This should be investigated by a doctor to rule out the possibility of cancer.
Do oral contraceptives cause breast cancer? That’s probably true for the old pills which contained a high amount of hormones. Today’s newer low-dose pills don’t pose the same risk and some studies point out that they may reduce the occurrence of breast cysts. To lessen your chances of acquiring breast cancer, don’t take birth control pills if you are over 35, smoke, and had breast cancer before.
Breastfeeding was once thought to lead to breast cancer but there is no scientific evidence that shows this. In fact, breast cancer appears to be absent in those who breastfeed. So if you’re a nursing mother, there’s no need to worry. Continue breastfeeding for as long as possible.
Does diet influence the development of breast cancer? Research indicates that a high-fat diet may be a possible factor in breast cancer and that limiting fat intake may reduce your chances of getting the disease.
Unfortunately, no clear-cut relationship has been established at the moment. But it does make sense to avoid too much fat since this can lead to other serious diseases. Don’t eliminate fat from your diet since this is almost impossible and not health¬ful. Instead, reduce your fat intake to about 30 percent of your total calorie intake.
Should lumps in the breast scare you? Don’t jump to the conclusion that they’re cancerous. Eight out of ten lumps usually turn out to be benign. Some women normally have breast lumps prior to menstruation. That’s no cause for alarm.
Anything that persists a week after the menstrual flow, however, should be checked by a physician. Lumps which appear in postmenopausal women are more likely to be cancerous so don’t ignore them.