Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Breast Cancer Myths Busted

1 in 7 women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their lifetime but thanks to the life-saving research from organisations like Breast Cancer Trials more people survive their diagnosis than ever before. You can even help save lives with the brand new 2022 Australian Women’s Health Diary available at breastcancertrials.org.au, with proceeds from every sale directly supporting the trials and research at Breast Cancer Trials.

There are a lot of myths regarding breast cancer and this can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so we’re here with Breast Cancer Trials to bring you some of the common breast cancer myths, explained:

MYTH: Only women get breast cancer

Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers diagnosed. Approximately, 164 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year and around 25 men in New Zealand. 

MYTH: Wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer

Every so often this myth will gain traction on the internet, but there is no credible evidence to back it up. A 2005 study of around 1,500 women found no aspect of bra wearing, including bra cup size, an average number of hours/day worn, wearing a bra with an underwire or age when first began regularly wearing a bra, was associated with risks of any of the most common types of breast cancer.

MYTH: Breast implants increase the risk of breast cancer

Several studies have been completed examining if there is a connection between silicone-filled breast implants and breast cancer and there was no conclusive evidence found that women who have undergone the cosmetic procedure have an increased risk of the most common types of breast cancer.

MYTH: Contraceptive pills cause breast cancer

Taking oral contraceptives or ‘the pill’ has been associated with a small increased risk of breast cancer while the woman is currently using it. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer for women using the ‘combined’ oral contraceptive pill increases by about 7% for every five years of use. However, this risk is reduced when the woman stops taking it.

MYTH: All breast cancer types are genetic

A person’s risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases if they have a close relative who has had breast cancer – on either their mother’s or father’s side – particularly if they were diagnosed under the age of 50. However, most women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease. The majority of breast cancer diagnoses are not linked to an inherited gene. It is estimated that 95% of Australian women are at average risk, 4% have an increased risk of breast cancer due to family history, and only 1% are at high risk due to strong family history. 

MYTH: Deodorants and antiperspirants may cause breast cancer

This myth was perpetuated by several poor-quality studies that proposed a link between the parabens and aluminium compounds found in deodorants applied close to where breast cancer can develop. A high-quality systematic review of all available studies showed there is no reliable evidence to suggest that the use of deodorants or antiperspirants increases the risk of breast cancer.

MYTH: All lumps in the breast are cancerous

Most lumps in the breast are not cancerous. Most breast changes are likely to be normal or due to a benign breast condition. If you do notice any changes you should discuss this with your GP to make sure that the changes are not something more serious. Changes to look out for include new lumps in the breast or under the arm, nipple inversion or discharge, skin thickening or swelling.

MYTH: Fertility treatments can cause breast cancer

There is no clear or conclusive evidence that hormonal treatment for infertility can cause an increased risk of breast cancer. An analysis of 20 studies found hormonal infertility treatments are not associated with an increased risk. There was also no increased risk found in women undergoing IVF treatment.

Visit breastcancertrials.org.au for more facts and information about trials. With breast cancer being the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Australia, every person knows someone whose life has been touched by a diagnosis. Packed with health issues important to every woman – like breast, heart, family and mental health, along with diet, exercise, skincare and lots more get 2022 ready with the brand new Australian Women’s Health Diary from Breast Cancer Trials. Buy the Diary that saves lives at any good newsagent, Woolworths, participating Post Offices Magshop or the Breast Cancer Trials website.

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