Breast Cancer Awareness: Separating Myth from Fact

Every October, the colour pink can be seen everywhere in hospitals and on social media in order to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. Indeed, it is something that requires our attention. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In fact, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes, with one death occurring every 13 minutes.

It is vital that we know what this disease is, how it affects us and most importantly, how to prevent it. It’s difficult to do this, however, when there are myths and misinformation abound on the internet.

First of all, what is breast cancer?

Cancer, in general, is a class of related diseases wherein abnormal cells uncontrollably divide and spread in a certain part of the body and can later spread throughout other areas of the body. When this abnormal cell division originates in the breast tissue, it is called breast cancer.

Among women, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death. This brings us to the first and most common myth.

Debunking breast cancer myths.

Myth: Only women get breast cancer.
Fact: While it is significantly more rare in men, they can still be affected. An estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer with 460 deaths, says the NBCF. Additionally, the mortality rate in men is actually higher as they lack awareness and are less likely to think of breast cancer when they feel a lump (often detected beneath the nipple and areola), thus causing a delay in seeking medical attention.

Myth: You can catch breast cancer.
Fact: Cancer, in all its forms, is not contagious.

Myth: Consuming dairy causes breast cancer.
Fact: Multiple studies done over many decades have shown that there is no correlation between dairy intake and increased risk of breast cancer.

Myth: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.
Fact: There is no conclusive evidence that the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants can cause breast cancer.

Myth: A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: Many women panic as soon as they feel a lump in their breasts but in actual fact, only a small percentage of lumps turn out to be cancer. Having said that, it is still extremely important to perform regular self-exams and to schedule routine clinical breast exams. Never ignore persistent lumps or changes in breast tissue.

Myth: A family history of breast cancer means you will definitely get breast cancer.
Fact: Only around 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of it. While women with a family history are in a higher risk group, it is not a certainty that the disease will occur in them. Regardless, it is still important to go for regular diagnostic breast imaging after the age of 40.

Myth: A mammogram will cause breast cancer to spread.
Fact: Vital for early detection, a mammogram is an x-ray of the breast which involves breast compression. This compression cannot cause cancer to spread.

The spread of misinformation – especially in the era of prevalent “fake news” – can be most detrimental. It’s essential to arm yourself with verified facts (ours came from the National Cancer Institute) in order to give your health and wellbeing the best chance.

Fighting breast cancer, the “Ramsay Sime Darby Way”.

The road to preventing and battling this invasive disease is a long one, but we at Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care provide the best medical care for our patients. We continue to evolve our cancer care services and treatments based on updated research findings and advancements in the medical field.

Our hospitals consist of highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals who are dedicated to providing patients the highest quality of care in their recovery. This is the Ramsay Sime Darby Way.

We are currently looking for driven and compassionate individuals to join us for the following positions:

Staff nurse (Oncology)
– At least 2 years of experience.
– Preferably with Post Basic in Oncology.

Radiographer
– At least 2-3 years of experience.
– Fresh graduates are encouraged to apply.

Become part of the Ramsay Way and send in your resume to rsdh.recruitment@ramsaysimedarbyhealth.com