10 Breast Cancer Myths Examined

In today’s world of Google searches and podcasts, information on breast cancer can easily be found. But it’s time to peel back that pink ribbon and see what’s really happening in research, prevention, treatment and finding a cure for breast cancer. The internet can be a great tool, but sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the myths from the facts. Here, we uncover 10 breast cancer myths and give you the truth behind them.

1. “Most breast cancers run in the family.”

On the contrary, according to the National Breast Cancer Organization only about five to 10 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are hereditary. Meaning most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

2. “There is nothing you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.”

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including consistent weight, balanced diet, plenty of exercise and eliminating alcohol can lower your risk for developing breast cancer. Although your lifestyle and environmental factors have an impact on your breast cancer risk, there are ways to lower it.

3. “Wearing a bra causes breast cancer.”

This is perhaps the least true statement out there. In fact, a 2014 scientific study looked at the link between wearing a bra and breast cancer. There was no real difference in the risk between women who wore a bra and women who didn’t wear a bra – via National Library of Medicine.

4. “Regular mammograms prevent breast cancer.”

Mammograms actually help save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible and when it’s the most treatable. So, don’t skip out on your annual mammogram – it just might save your life.

5. “Antiperspirants cause breast cancer.”

Although antiperspirants have some toxin buildup and aluminum exposure, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that antiperspirants cause breast cancer.

6. “Finding a lump on your breast means you have breast cancer.”

Although finding a lump on your breast causes room for concern and should be assessed by a professional, there are other warning signs you need to know. Be alert to swelling, redness, change in size or shape, itching or rash, constant pain and discharge.

7. “Only women can get breast cancer. It does not affect men.”

Men have breast tissue too! In 2018, about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be found in men. – via American Cancer Society.

8.“Young women cannot get breast cancer.”

Although it is rare for a young woman to develop breast cancer, all women are at risk for the disease. However, the American Cancer Society says that most breast cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. occur in women under 40.

9. “Injury or trauma to your breast can cause breast cancer.”

There is no scientific evidence to support this link between injury to the breast and developing breast cancer.

10. “If a woman is pregnant, she can’t develop breast cancer.”

Unfortunately, this is not true. When women are pregnant or breastfeeding, their breasts are naturally more tender and enlarged, which may make it harder to find a lump or notice other changes. In fact, breast cancer is actually the most common cancer in pregnant and postpartum women.

It’s important to know and understand the facts about breast cancer. Please share this information with your friends and loved ones. For more information about breast cancer, contact the Breast Center at Mobile Infirmary Hospital at (251) 435-5060.


National Breast Cancer Organization

American Cancer Society

National Library of Medicine