8 myths about breast cancer and its possible causes

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Breast cancer is the second most common among Brazilian women, second only to non-melanoma skin cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma, a tumor that begins in the milk duct and invades the breast wall, reaching the adipose tissue, represents 70% of cases. The cure is directly linked to the early diagnosis of the disease and healthy habits, as explained by Dr. Andrea Cubero, mastologist at the São Camilo de São Paulo Hospital Network: “Prevention of breast cancer in the life of a teenager comes down to the development of good life habits. Developing healthy habits from childhood is extremely important to have a healthy adult life and old age ”.

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The doctor also clarifies that there is not only one cause for breast cancer, which is actually related to a number of factors, being that genetic predisposition and mutations pose a serious risk, but are responsible for the minority of cases. “The factors range from the time of exposure to the hormone estrogen to menstruating very early, entering menopause very late, the age of first pregnancy, having a small number of children, not breastfeeding, using hormone replacement therapy, etc. Other factors that influence the risk of breast cancer are obesity, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity“, Lists the mastologist.

That is, it is important that, since adolescence, women have healthy lifestyle habits to prevent the disease, such as eating well, reducing the consumption of red meat and alcohol, not smoking, practicing physical exercises, trying not to be stressed for nothing and have a good night’s sleep. Another way to act in the prevention of breast cancer is to demystify myths about the disease, such as:

1. Deodorant can give cancer

Myth. Dr. Andrea Cubero told that there is no scientific evidence relating the use of deodorants to the appearance of breast tumors. However, antiperspirants have aluminum in the formula, responsible for precisely preventing the passage of sweat through the pores of the armpit, obstructing them. This blocking action can be harmful to health, as it prevents the body from achieving thermal balance. When in doubt, you can choose a natural / vegan deodorant.

2. Wearing too tight a bra can lead to cancer

Myth. However, mastologist Andrea points out that wearing a tight bra often can cause breast pain. Therefore, it is important to choose a model that gives support to the breasts, but that is, above all, comfortable. Remembering that sleeping without a bra is a very healthy habit for health.

3. If your mother has had breast cancer, you will also have

“Not exactly. Only 5% to 10% of breast cancers are caused by genetic changes that are passed from mother to daughter“, Warns the specialist. But, if you have a history of breast cancer in the family, especially on the maternal side, it is important to redouble the care and attention, performing the self-examination at the beginning of adulthood and regularly visiting your gynecologist, who may come to order imaging tests, such as ultrasound, if necessary, 40 years old, age at which the Brazilian Society of Mastology begins to recommend an annual mammogram.

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4. There is only one type of breast cancer

Lie. There are several types of breast cancer, so treatment is individualized. The most common of these is invasive ductal carcinoma and ductal carcinoma in situ (or non-invasive) today represents 20% of new cases of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A very small proportion of women are diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, which originates in the mammary glands and has symptoms that are more difficult to identify.

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5. All types of cancer are curable

The mastologist says that, unfortunately, some malignant nodules have no cure, but that it is directly related to early diagnosis. “The longer it takes to make the diagnosis, the more difficult it is to be cured”, he guarantees. That is why self-examination and imaging are so important. Despite the scenario, it can really scare, it is important to note that about 95% of breast cancer cases have chances of cure. A Dra. Vanessa Saliba Donatelli, mastologist at IBCC Oncology, says that science is always evolving in the treatment against the disease and that, in Brazil, since 2013, the patient has the right to carry out reparative surgery or breast reconstruction, after the removal of part or the whole breast. “Over the years, it has really been established that mammography is the most effective method, from the age of 40, for the early detection of breast cancer. And to this was added, in younger women with a history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives, the performance of magnetic resonance imaging of the breasts, with an increase in the effectiveness of diagnosis in high-risk women. Scientific studies show that 90% of tumors can be caused by factors and bad lifestyle habits, but that can be modified. We advise that all women maintain a healthy life, with the practice of physical exercises, good nutrition, weight control, smoking cessation and excessive alcohol intake. In women with a family history of breast cancer, we began to investigate genetic inheritance, with the study of a blood sample of possible mutations that may predispose to breast cancer ”, adds doctor Vanessa Donatelli.

6. People with bigger breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer

Myth. Although, in 2007, the newspaper New England Journal of Medicine publish an article written by Norman Boyd, a researcher at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Canada, saying that women with small breasts [cuja dimensão dificultaria a leitura por mamografia] have a higher risk of developing cancer, mastologist Andrea Cubero explains that cancer can affect all types of breast, and that there are now alternatives as effective as mammography when it comes to imaging.

7. Silicone prostheses can cause cancer

Myth. Some implants can really hinder the diagnosis of nodules and tumors, but there is no scientific study to prove this relationship and, as mastologists have already pointed out, today there are more options for imaging tests and they are more advanced.

8. Women who do not get pregnant or breastfeed will have cancer

Myth. Although breastfeeding is a form of prevention, does not mean that every woman who is not a mother or does not breastfeed will have cancer. It is worth noting, however, thatstudos prove that women who breastfeed for more than six months are less likely to develop a breast tumor, since milk production increases the activities of the cells, which decrease their multiplication – which causes the cancerous nodule. Late pregnancy, after 30 years, increasingly common, is also a risk factor. However, whether or not to be a mother is a woman’s decision that must always be respected.

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