With anything in life, especially diseases and various health conditions, there’s a lot of misinformation out there and I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my health, that’s the last thing I want there to be any confusion about. Am I right or am I right?
To help you take better control of your health, I’m dispelling five common myths about breast cancer, a disease that’s expected to take the lives of about 40,000 women this year alone.
Myth #1: Only women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Yes, it’s true that women are 100x more likely than men to get develop breast cancer in their lifetime, but it’s estimated that nearly 2,400 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 440 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Myth #2: Breast cancer is an older white woman’s disease.
White women are diagnosed with breast cancer more often than Black women; however, we tend to be diagnosed younger and have the more aggressive form of the disease. Additionally, the mortality rate for Black women is considerably higher.
“The media focuses on this demographic, but the reality is that breast cancer affects women of all ethnicity and ages,” says Dr. Bola Oyeyipo, a family physician in southern California and co-founder of Healthgist.com.
Myth #3: You can only get breast cancer if it runs in your family.
According to the American Cancer Society, only five to 10 percent of breast cancer patients had a relative who had the disease.
“While having a family history of breast cancer increases your risk for developing the disease, most breast cancer cases are a result of a random mutation of in the breast tissue,” Dr. Oyeyipo says.
Myth #4: Breast implants increase your risk of breast cancer.
One would assume that women with breast implants have a higher risk of breast cancer due to the saline and silicone that’s inserted into the breasts. But, several studies, including this one suggest there is no link between breast cancer and breast implants.
Myth #5: Long-term use of birth control pills causes breast cancer.
According to a 2014 study published in the journal Cancer Research, women prescribed birth control pills had a greater risk of breast cancer by 50 percent roughly. And for birth control pills that contained estrogen? The risk increased to 60 percent. That said, while there is a link between the two, the evidence is not strong enough yet to suggest a direct cause and effect.
“Birth control pills are either a formulation of estrogen and progesterone or progesterone alone,” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “The progesterone hormone protects against breast cancer. What has been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer is unopposed used of estrogen as hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women.”