5 Breast Cancer Myths Debunked
You can never be too safe when it comes to breast cancer. Doing self-exams, having mammograms and keeping your eyes peeled for signs can be life saving.
Raising awareness and promoting breast health is a wonderful thing But it has also brought about
This article debunks some myths that have been heard from medical patients:
Myth 1: If a breast lump is movable, it’s not cancer.
Almost all breast cancers cases begin in a movable state. When they grow large and attach to something they stop being movable.
You should immediately inform your GP about any lump you feel in your breast.
During a breast self-exam, feel around your breasts for something hard that doesn’t belong there, it may feel smooth and very firm, like a marble.
Myth 2: Breast cancer doesn’t cause pain.
That’s true to some extent but fast-growing breast cancers can be painful. Breast pain in one particular spot, especially in older women, is a warning sign.
Most women experience general breast pain or soreness that comes and goes, that's not a sign of cancer, that’s usually caused by too much caffeine or hormone fluctuations
Myth 3: Women with lumpy breast tissue have dense breasts.
That’s false. Lumpy breast tissue has nothing to do with breast density, your breasts can feel lumpy but not appear dense on a mammogram.
Nearly one in two women have dense breast tissue, indicated by the amount of milk glands and ducts and supportive tissue, which appear solid white on a mammogram. Because cancer can appear the same way, women with dense breasts may choose to have 3D mammography for better cancer detection and fewer false positives.
Myth 4: Doctors can tell if a lump is cancer just by feeling it.
Wrong. Neither you nor your healthcare provider — no matter how good he or she is — can tell whether a lump is cancer without diagnostic imaging.
Women age 30 and older will have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. An ultrasound helps evaluate a mass by assessing whether it is solid or fluid-filled. Women under age 30 will have only an ultrasound because younger, dense breasts are difficult to evaluate by mammogram.
Suspicious lumps should be biopsied. Typically, a sample of tissue is drawn through a needle. Then the tissue is studied under a microscope.
Myth 5: Nipple discharge is usually a sign of cancer.
No, the opposite is true. Many women have leftover milk in their ducts after breastfeeding, or they have debris that can cause greenish or even black discharge that can be squeezed out of the ducts.
You should be more worried about bloody or clear discharge that leaks out when you’re not squeezing. This type of discharge can be a sign of breast cancer about 10 percent of the time. Even with bloody nipple discharge, the cause is usually a benign condition inside the milk duct.
Ruling out cancer
Lumps, pain and other breast abnormalities affect almost every woman at some point. Usually they are not cancer, but getting them checked out is a must.
It’s not advisable to rule out breast cancer before you’ve had a proper evaluation.