Dr. Poonam Medical Oncologist, At Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore
With October being observed as the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’, it is important to learn the facts surrounding the medical condition. According to the National Health Portal, it is a widely recognised health condition that affects nearly 14% of India’s female population Normally, it is seen in post-menopausal women, but in some cases, women between the ages of 20 and 30 can also suffer from this medical condition.
Breast cancer is a health condition in which the cancer cells are developed in the tissues of the breast. These cells develop rapidly and spread to various parts of the body, including bones, lungs, and liver. Though uncommon, men can also suffer from this condition.
The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown; however, it could be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. In some cases, women who exhibit a significant number of symptoms never develop cancer, whereas others who exhibit none of the symptoms become infected with cancer.
The symptoms can vary from person to person. Enlarging of all or part of the breast, skin disturbance or dimpling, breast discomfort, pain in the areola, and redness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin are some of the signs to watch for.
There is a lot of false information out there about breast cancer. Here are a few myths and facts to help you debunk the myths and live a worry free life.
- Myth 1: Breast cancer is transmissible
Fact: Breast cancer cannot be contracted or transmitted from one person to another. Breast cancer develops as a result of unregulated cell growth that spreads to other tissues within the breast.
- Myth 2: Women with a family history of breast cancer are more likely to get the cancer
Fact: Despite the fact that women with a family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk, the majority of those who develop the condition have no family history. Only about 10% of those diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
- Myth 3: Individuals with breast cancer consistently discover a lump
Fact: The majority of breast lumps are not cancer, and not every cancer patient experiences a lump. In fact, most breast cancers do not cause protuberances in their early stages. However, if one notices any changes in the breast, it is critical to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician because this could be an indication of concern.
- Myth 4: Men don’t get breast cancer
Fact: Breast cancer primarily affects women, however, men can also be affected by the medical condition. Men, like women, have breast tissues and can develop breast cancer. Cells in almost any part of the body can become cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body, regardless of gender.
- Myth 5: Deodorant/ antiperspirant causes breast cancer
Fact: Deodorants and antiperspirants are safe and harmless and they do not cause breast cancer. It is a common misconception that the aluminum and parabens in these products are absorbed through the skin and cause breast cancer. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2002), it was found that there was no connection between breast cancer and deodorants and/or antiperspirants.
Breast cancer is a complex mix of factors that has yet to be fully understood. While it is impossible to address all the contributing factors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important strategy to mitigate any negative consequences.