Women's Health

The Most Common Breast Cancer Myths Busted

common breast cancer myths busted

The Most Common Breast Cancer Myths Busted

Breast cancer is extremely common, affecting about 12% of women in the United States within their lifetime. It is hard to find a person who doesn’t know someone affected by breast cancer.

Although there are definitely certain things women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer, there is also a lot of misinformation about what can cause it. Here is a list of a few breast cancer myths busted:

  • Wearing a bra causes breast cancer: It is an incorrect belief that a tight bra puts pressure on the lymph nodes, thus restricting the drainage of toxins and ultimately leading to cancer. In fact, this is nothing more than a rumor. Research has found that the lymph does not drain down towards the underwire, but rather into the armpits, so there is no relation between wearing a bra and breast cancer. 
  • Plastic surgery causes breast cancer: It was once thought that the risk for breast cancer could increase by getting breast implants. Moreover, there was an additional concern that, due to the implants, the cancer could be missed in mammography. However, no evidence was found to link breast implants with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Deodorants can cause breast cancer: Since deodorants are often made using aluminum-based ingredients and can show some estrogen-like effects that can fuel breast cancer, some women fear using deodorants. However, no evidence has been found showing this link to be positive. Another related hot topic is parabens increasing the risk of breast cancer. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim either.
  • Drinking coffee increases the risk of breast cancer: Some studies support this claim, whereas others say the opposite. In certain groups of women, the breast cancer risk can actually decrease due to coffee because it contains antioxidants and can improve blood circulation, memory, and pain, as well as preserve muscles. So, it’s safe to drink coffee, but in limited quantities.
  • Breast cancer risk may increase due to mammograms, MRIs, or ultrasounds: Some people fear that radiation given off of mammograms and MRIs can increase the risk of getting breast cancer. However, according to certain studies, the death rate of cancer in women has lowered through regular mammograms. So, women over the age of 40 are recommended to have annual mammograms. Moreover, ultrasounds and MRIs do not give out radiation, so there is no risk of developing cancer due to them.
  • Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer: There have not been any studies to prove this. However, we know that breast cancer is related to hormonal changes, so the factors that cause these, such as late menopause, taking birth control, and never having kids, all can increase one’s risk of breast cancer.
  • Living near powerlines can cause breast cancer: Powerlines have an electromagnetic field, and this concept is alien to many who tend to look at it as something harmful. However, no scientific evidence supports this idea.
  • Hair chemicals increase the risk of breast cancer: African-American women are diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages and are more likely to have this type of cancer than other demographics. The African as well as American cultures often see the use of many hair chemicals and relaxers, but no positive link has been found between these chemicals and a higher breast cancer risk.
  • Artificial sweeteners cause breast cancer: Artificial sweeteners are used in almost all types of foods, and many believe they are cancerous. Although no link has been found between them and the breast cancer risk, they should be avoided since they are bad for the health.
  • Traumatic injuries increase the risk of breast cancer: Trauma or bruising to the breast after healing can cause a hard mass, leading many to assume cancer. However, it’s the healing process and the scar tissue that cause the mass, which naturally goes away after some time.
  • Not breastfeeding can cause breast cancer: Breastfeeding reduces one’s risk of developing breast cancer, but there has been no evidence to prove that not breastfeeding will increase the risk.
  • Having larger breasts can increase the risk of breast cancer: Obesity may increase the risk, but larger breasts on their own have not been shown to do so.