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Breast Cancer Myth Busters: Fact or Myth

Breast cancer has been on an uprise throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the past few years. Breast cancer was the most common type of cancer among females in the region, accounting for 18% of all cases in 2012, and was the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths (9%).

What is cancer?
Cancer is a general term for a condition whereby cells in a specific part of the body grow and multiply uncontrollably. As the disease progresses, it starts to invade surrounding tissue and it could even spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastases.

Breast cancer cannot be avoided however early detection can help prevent disease progression, which leads to more effective treatment. There have been many myths circulating the web and social media and this can unfortunately lead to misinformation.

Facts and Myths on Breast Cancer

Myth : Shaving or using deodorants cause breast cancer.
Fact : There are multiple emails circulating with the rumor that shaving and using anti-perspirants can indirectly damage the lymph node under the arms and lead to inflammation of the lymph nodes. The claim has been proven wrong by The American Cancer Society in 2002 stating there is no relation between breast cancer and shaving or using deodorants.

Myth : Men can’t get breast cancer.
Fact : Sadly, this is not the truth. Breast cancer is rare and less common in men, however statistics show that 1 in 1000 men have the lifetime ‘risk’ of getting breasts cancer.

Myth : Only women with a family history of breast cancer can develop cancer.
Fact : All women have a risk of developing breast cancer. Inherited genes for breast cancer only play a role of 5-10% in developing it.

Myth : Wearing a bra, especially the ones with an underwire can cause formations of lumps and lead to breast cancer.
Fact : This myth is actually from a book published in 1995 by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer titled 1995 “Dressed to Kill”. The chances of developing breast cancer are no different between someone who wears a bra and someone who doesn’t.

Myth : If I have a lump in my breast, I definitely have breast cancer.
Fact : Many times, these lumps are benign cysts (fluid filled sacs with no malignancy). They are harmless and not cancerous. It is best to visit your nearest clinical physician or gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not only a chance to raise awareness about the importance of the disease, but an opportunity to share the right information.


  1. www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/no_evidence
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/key-statistics.html
  4. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cancer-of-the-breast-female/Pages/Introduction.aspx