Breast Cancer Myths and Facts

Breast Cancer Myths and Facts



You may have heard that chemicals in these products can get into your body through razor nicks and cause the disease. Here’s some peace of mind: Experts say there’s no evidence this is true.



No need to panic if you find one on your chest. Many women have lumps caused by fluid-filled sacs called cysts or by a buildup of scar-like tissue. A new lump or mass that is hard, painless, and has rough edges is more likely to be cancer. 


Watch for breast pain, swelling, dimpling, nipples that hurt or leak liquid, or any redness or thickening of the skin. Always see your doctor if you notice anything different.




Back then, the condition was so common among religious women, most of whom had no children, that it became known as nuns’ disease.


Women who have many children and get pregnant at a younger age have a lower risk. That may be because pregnancy reduces a woman’s total number of periods. Scientists think having more period-related hormones may raise the chances of getting breast cancer.



Anyone with breast tissue can get the disease, even men. But some things make it more likely. Breast cancer in your family — on your mother’s side or your father’s — raises your chances of getting it. You’re also more likely to get it if you’ve had it before. Most women have some risk factors, but most don’t get the disease.


Being a woman

Hormone therapy

One in 8 women in the U.S. will get the disease in her lifetime. Breast cancer is 100 times more common among women, although men can get it too. Age is another factor — 2 out of 3 women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older.

Breast self-exam



Regular mammograms lower your chances of dying from the disease. The test is an X-ray of the breast. It can find cancer before you can feel it or have symptoms. The American Cancer Society says most women should get one every year after age 45.


Though it can be uncomfortable, the test has a low risk of harm. The amount of radiation used is very small.


Use deodorant


Some deodorants or antiperspirants have ingredients like aluminum that can show up on the X-ray image as white spots.


What else can you do to make the test go smoothly? Schedule the exam when your breasts aren’t swollen or tender. For example, try to avoid the week before your period.




These days, it’s hard to miss that pink is the official color of the cause. But the original ribbon was peach, and it was designed by a breast cancer survivor.


Charlotte Haley attached the ribbons to cards she handed out at supermarkets. She asked people to wear them to draw attention to the need for prevention research.


Manage stress


Here’s another reason to get off the couch: Walking, swimming, biking, and other regular exercise seems to lower the chances of getting breast cancer by 10% to 20%. Women who’ve gone through menopause benefit most from being active, but the American Cancer Society says 150 minutes of moderate exercise throughout the week is good for everyone.

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Reviewed by Laura


Martin, MD on February 13, 2018

Medically Reviewed on February 13, 2018

Reviewed by Laura


Martin, MD on
February 13, 2018


1) Getty Images


American Cancer Society: “Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk,” “Can Breast Cancer be Found Early?” “Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer,” “What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?” “What is Breast Cancer?” “Summary of the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity.”

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: “Facts and Myths.”

CDC: “Breast Cancer: What Are the Risk Factors?” “Breast Cancer: What Screening Tests Are There?”

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: “Trim Your Cancer Risk With Exercise.”

Living Beyond Breast Cancer: “Who Gets Breast Cancer?”

National Breast Cancer Foundation: “Breast Cancer Facts.”

Pink Ribbon International: “The Origin of the Ribbon.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure: “Exercise (Physical Activity),” “The Pink Ribbon Story.”

The New England Journal of Medicine

: “Bathsheba’s Breast: Women, Cancer and History.”

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Breast Cancer Myths and Facts

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