True or False: Breast cancer in men and other beliefs

Breast cancer is the most invasive cancer among women, joined by cervical cancer. This mirrors a study by the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society which revealed that the Philippines is the number one out of 197 countries with most cases of breast cancer.

As we celebrate the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we came up with a list of breast cancer beliefs and myths that need to be either debunked or proven. What are these?

  1. Breast cancer is hereditary = FALSE

According to the American Cancer Society, only two out of 10 people with breast cancer have family history. However, if a close relative has or has had breast cancer, the risk is higher, but it does not indicate you will acquire it 100%.

  1. Breast cancer is curable = TRUE

Most of women diagnosed with breast cancer from stages I to III have survived it 5 years after diagnosis. On the other hand, stage IV cancer has 22% survival rate. In the Philippines, breast cancer survival rate is at least 40%. So, no need to worry if you follow procedures!

  1. Breast cancer is only for women = FALSE

Men, having been born with breast themselves are also prone to breast cancer. However, they make up only less than 1% of the cases. Some of the risk factors include old age, high estrogen levels, radiation exposure, alcohol abuse, strong family history of breast cancer, and genetic mutations.

  1. Breast cancer has many types = TRUE

To surprise you further, breast cancer has more than a dozen types. The most common is carcinoma or the tumor that grow in organs and tissues. Other types can start in the muscle cells, fat or connective tissue.

  1. Breast cancer treatment always involves chemotherapy = FALSE

Not all types of breast cancer need chemotherapy. Such treatment depends on the size of the cancer. Other procedures include radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

  1. Breast lumps, painful or not, can indicate cancer = TRUE

Any type of lump that stays within two weeks can already be cancerous and needs to be evaluated by a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of breast cancer include an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or a lump in the breast or in an armpit, pain in the said areas even without monthly period, redness of the skin, rash around or on the nipple, nipple discharge, sunken nipple, change in breast size, and peeling or flaking of the breast or nipple.

Breast cancer can be prevented starting with a healthy lifestyle from food, exercise, and even sleep. However if the symptoms above persist, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor.

Share this article and participate in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

SOURCES: 1, 2, 3