October is breast cancer awareness month. To help you determine fact from fiction here are 5 common myth’s followed by information to help you uncover the truth.
Myth #1: All of us have cancer cells in our body. It is just a matter of time for them to be activated.
Fact: Yes, we all have cells with mutant proteins from DNA damage, but these cells are not yet cancer. Our cells have a natural ability to repair or kill themselves with intelligent checkpoints to know whether they need to divide, repair, or die. Cancer can occur when these normal checkpoints are misregulated and the unhealthy cell starts dividing but if a dividing unhealthy cell is detected, a powerful protein in our bodies called P-53 will trigger tumor suppression and can stop potential cancer.
For those of you with a passion for biology or curious to know more, here’s a video from the Kahn Academy with more details on tumor suppressors.
Myth #2: Breast cancer is always there and there is nothing you can do to reduce your risk of developing it.
Fact: Many diseases are caused and worsen because of our lifestyle and environment, cancer is one of them. Although there are many factors that can increase breast cancer risk, there are also so many ways to lower it. Eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables accompanied by regular exercise and a healthy weight can help lower your risks of getting breast cancer. Avoiding alcohol can also decrease your risk of developing cancer.
Myth #3: Bras cause breast cancer.
Fact: Bras and its underwire have no relevance when cancer occurs. A scientific study in 2014 looked at the link between wearing a bra and breast cancer and found no correlation, nor did it find or prove that women who wore bras versus women who don’t have increased risk of breast cancer.
Myth #4: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: Not all breast lumps are cancerous. Some of them may be fibrosis or simple cysts only. Never ignore a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in the breast tissue. Make sure to always see a medical provider for a thorough breast exam. Your provider may order laboratory exams to be able to determine if the lump is a concern or not.
Myth #5: Breast cancer is contagious.
Fact: Like all other cancers, breast cancer is not contagious at all. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that spreads into the other tissues within the breast. This happens only within an individual person’s body. You can never transfer or transmit cancer through air or bodily fluids.
Breast cancer is treatable and when caught early increased recovery rates for patients. Always make self breast examination a habit and get regular mammograms to check for lumps. Sunshine Community Health Center, in partnership with Providence Imaging, provides mammogram services at both office locations throughout the year. Find more information here. This Breast Cancer Awareness month, make sure to get yourself checked to make sure you didn’t miss out any lumps in your breasts.