The words “cancer” and “breast cancer” have always caused fear in the hearts of most people and are seldom spoken unless it is absolutely necessary. Therefore, it is not surprising that most people may not have much knowledge about the subject of breast cancer unless or until it becomes something that one absolutely needs to know about it. Conversely, it is not surprising that there are so many ideas about breast cancer that have been shared over the years that have absolutely no factual support in science.
With this in mind, I decided to explore some of the most common myths about breast cancer and found a great source for information on the subject. I know from my own experience that the subject of breast cancer was always taboo and that I never heard anything about it except for the occasional whisperings that I heard between my mother and her sisters on those occasions that it may have struck close to home for one of them. So my knowledge started with the idea that breast cancer is hereditary and if you did not have a history of breast cancer in your family, you really don’t have to worry about getting it. Needless to say, I had a really rude awakening when I found a lump and it was confirmed to be cancer. And I was shocked even further when I learned that it is estimated that only 5 to 10 percent of new cases of breast cancer are associated with gene mutations inherited from a parent.
Once such a myth is debunked, a patient becomes even more fearful and guilt sets in. What did I do wrong that made me get cancer? What could have caused this for me when others in my family didn’t have breast cancer? I don’t remember having any pain so how was I to know? Was my underwire bra a cause or my deodorant? And once you discover a lump, does that mean that it is automatically cancer? And if it is cancer, does that mean that you will have chemo and that you will lose your hair? And if you find yourself starting to wish that you were a man instead of a woman so that you never have to worry about getting breast cancer, think again. Men get breast cancer, too!
While I have learned so much along the way about all of the myths connected to breast cancer, I do think that we must always put things into proper perspectives. Until such times as the scientific community is able to figure out how and why we get cancer, perhaps we should focus on dealing with our own individual treatment and healing. While we are given certain guidelines to hopefully improve our chances of not getting cancer, we all know people who have religiously lived by those guidelines and still got cancer. Therefore, since we can’t change the past, we do ourselves a major favor if we choose to focus on our present and the future.
Regardless of what you may have heard about cancer, there are so many myths out there that are perpetuated by those who would rather share them than to do anything about finding out what is true and what isn’t true. Many of these myths cause unnecessary fear in people and they decide that they would rather “not know” whether they have cancer instead of seeing their doctors for a check up. Even if a person finds a lump, it does not mean that they have cancer so why not find out for sure? If it isn’t cancer, just think of all of the stress and anguish you could save yourself. And if it is cancer, the sooner that it is confirmed, the better the chances are that if you get treated earlier than later, the better your chances are that it can be contained and removed before it travels to other parts of your body.
So do yourself a favor and do a favor for every other person who is important in your life. Whether you are a woman or a man, don’t believe everything that you hear and get your annual physical and if you notice any unusual changes in your body, contact your doctor immediately. Regardless of what you learn, you will be glad that you acted when you did.