Breast Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women, yet, did you know that men can also be affected by it? It is not solely a disease that women can get, although it is less likely, men are still at risk as well. This fact may startle some, and many individuals still hold onto various myths pertaining to such a disease. Let’s work on dispelling some of those myths.
As mentioned above, the first myth pertaining to this disease is that it only affects women. This, of course, is not at all true. In fact, men also get it, although it occurs less frequently. Actually, about one percent of all breast cancer occurs in male patients. Further, it is even more dangerous for men, because men do not typically do self-examinations. Thus, when the cancer is finally detected, it is far more advanced.
Another myth that is associated with this disease is that if one has found a lump during an examination, it is cancer. Again, this is not always the case. In fact, both men and women can develop lumps in their breast tissue for a variety of reasons and only a doctor can determine whether or not a lump is cancerous. Other identified lumps in breast tissue are caused by the formation of cysts, natural fibrocystic changes, fibroadenomas, low grade infections, calcium deposits and minor injuries to breast tissue.
Yet another myth associated with this disease is that it is solely hereditary. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, although a history of breast cancer in one’s family increases the risk that one might get breast cancer, the plain and simple truth is that anyone can develop this disease. Remember, even families that have a family history of breast cancer had to, at one time, experience the unwelcome surprise that one individual in the family got the disease in the first place.
The next myth associated with breast cancer is downright ridiculous. Would you believe, that in this day and age, some individuals still think that breast cancer is contagious? Unlike the common cold or flu, it is not a contagious disease. Thus, it cannot be directly passed from one individual to another through human contact.
Conversely, some individuals foolishly believe that breast size determines whether or not one gets cancer. Again, this is a misconception. Women with smaller breasts are at equal risk of getting the disease and this fact is confirmed in that men, individuals that possess almost no breast tissue, also get the disease. Thus, size has nothing to do with getting breast cancer.
Finally, another myth that is associated with this disease is that it only affects older people. This is not so. Although the chance of getting breast cancer increases with age, women as young as 18 have been diagnosed with the disease. Therefore, no matter what age you are, self examinations are important and should be done on a monthly basis, in conjunction with regular checkups with a physician.