Myths and Facts

Latest Statistics

  • Mammograms: 12,222
  • Clinical Breast Examinations: 112,802
  • Women Educated on Breast Health: 315,638
  • Breast Check Referrals: 2,199
  • Male Breast Check Education: 4,336
  • Male Breast Check Examinations: 1,744
  • Male Breast Check Referrals: 10
  • Pap Smears: 1,230
  • Last updated: 16 August 2017

myths and facts

  • Cancer is a disease of the wealthy and developed countries.

False: Anyone can get cancer, no matter who you are or where you live.

    • Only old people get cancer.

False: You can get cancer at any age. The youngest girl in South Africa reported with breast cancer was 6 years old.

    • Cancer is a death sentence.

False: If detected early, the cancer can be cured.

    • Cancer is my fate.

False: Cancer is a disease that can affect everyone.

    • We must not talk about cancer.

False: We must talk about cancer and by talking about it, you are making other people aware of it.

    • There are no signs or symptoms of cancer.

False: Signs and symptoms for breast cancer:

  • A hard, rough lump in the breast or armpit
  • Swelling of the glands in the armpit
  • Changes in the skin of the breast eg, any new dimpling, indentation or orange peel looking on the skin of the breast
  • Changes in the size of the breast eg, one breast becoming lower than the other, nipples are at different levels
  • Changes in the nipples of the breast eg Nipple retraction (ie) where the nipple turns inward.
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk) ie green and yellow is an infection, redish is a positive sign of cancer or it can be due to injury.
    • There is nothing I can do about cancer.

False: With the right treatment cancer can be cured.

    • I don’t have the right to cancer care.

False: Everyone, not matter who you are or where you live, has the right to any medical care.

    • Children don’t get cancer.

False: In Canada a 2 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer and by the time she was 3 years old her breast was removed. In South Africa our youngest survivor was 6 years old by the time she was 8/9 years old she had a double mastectomy.

    • Breast cancer is caused by carrying money in your bra, so only women get it.

False: Using your bra as a pocket causes pain and discomfort. Men also get breast cancer. It is 1% of our population.

    • Cancer is a disease you get from upsetting your ancestors

False: Our lifestyle can contribute to us getting cancer, eg smoking, drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise, family history, etc..

    • Cancer is always painful.

False: Most cancerous lumps / tumors present themselves as painless.

    • All tumors are cancerous.

False: Not necessarily, it’s good to check out every lump or tumor to see if it is cancerous or not.

    • If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will probably die.

False: If untreated, there is a possibility you could die, but if caught in time and treated, you can live a long life.

    • Testicular cancer will end your sex life.

False: Once cured from the disease you can have a normal sex life.

    • MRI is better than mammogram because it finds more cancer.

False: A mammogram is specifically used to detect breast cancer and an MRI scan is used to detect the spread of cancer into the lymph.

  • Do antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?.

No. The best studies so far have found no evidence linking the chemicals typically found in antiperspirants and deodorants with changes in breast tissue.

False: Antiperspirants and deodorants do not cause breast cancer, they in fact can cause abscesses in the armpit.

  • Mammograms prevent breast cancer.

False: Mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer, it merely detects if you have it.

  • Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

False: People with cancer in their family will have a higher risk of getting cancer but you can get cancer even if there is no family history of cancer.

  • Men don’t get breast cancer.

False: Men can get breast cancer. Reason being men also have a armpit, nipples and breast tissue and muscles.

  • Everyone’s breast cancer is the same.

False: No one is the same. It can appear in different spots and be different sizes. Some have spread and in the later stages, while some are still in the early stages.

  • In terms of survival, removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation.

False: It all depends on the size of the breast, the size of the tumour and how far the cancer has spread.

  • There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer.

False: There are drugs to deduce the size of the tumor.

  • Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s very important to make treatment decisions immediately.

False: You are entitled to a second opinion.

  • With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer.

False: There is no cure for breast cancer.

  • If I am not a scientist, then I won’t be able to understand breast cancer research.

False: Breast cancer is being researched throughout the world , and is explained in detail on cancer research websites for all to understand.

  • You can catch cancer from other people.

False: Cancer itself is not contagious. People with cancer in the family will have a higher chance of getting cancer than with those with no cancer in the family.

  • Pesticides cause cancer.

False: What we do know is, there are clear links between many industrial chemicals and some cancers. So if you work with these chemicals, wear protective gear.

  • Masturbation causes testicular or prostate cancer..

False: It actually reduces the risk of testicular and prostate cancer.

  • Tight underpants cause testicular cancer..

False: It only causes discomfort.

  • Regularly eating burnt meat cooked on a braai won´t increase your risk for cancer..

False: Eating burnt meat regularly can increase your risk for cancer.

  • Women have prostates but they don´t cause as much trouble..

A survey found that over 50% of men believe women have prostates. But it´s FALSE, which is great news, otherwise more people might have to get up in the middle of the night for a pee!

  • Drinking alcohol may make you more likely to get mouth, liver, colon, breast, and other cancers. It doesn’t matter if you prefer beer, wine, or liquor..

False: It’s how much you drink that counts. The more you drink, the higher the risk.

  • For most cancers, a biopsy can cause cancer cells to spread.

False: A biopsy can detect cancer and even the stages of the cancer.

  • What can you do to lower your chances of getting cancer?.

Exercise, along with healthy eating and managing your weight, can make you less likely to get certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer.

False: There are other contributing factors that can increase your risk of getting cancer, such as stress, family history, previous cancers, etc…

FACTS

  • When breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it may have been in your body for 6-10 years.
  • Breast cancer mortality rates are declining.
  • We don’t know how to prevent breast cancer
  • Risk of breast cancer increases with age; 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 years or older.
  • Most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do.
  • The mortality rate from breast cancer is higher for African American women than for Caucasian women.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • I can make a difference.
  • Monthly breast self-exams save lives.
  • Mammograms can only help and not harm you.
  • All breast cancer research is good beca.

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