In this age of mass communication, myths regarding breast cancer and its causes are still alive and well. Below are a few of the common misconceptions about breast cancer and the truth of the matter.

Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer AwarenessMyth Number One: Only women get breast cancer.

The truth is that each year approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Of those men who are diagnosed, 410 will die. It is important for men to do breast self-exams. Any changes should be reported to their physicians.

Myth Number Two: If I find a lump in my breast, it means that I have breast cancer.

The truth is that if you discover a lump in your breast it should not be ignored, but only a small percentage of lumps turn out to be cancer. It is important to have a physician do a clinical breast exam and possibly order breast imaging to determine if the lump is of any concern.

Myth Number Three: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.

The truth is that an x-ray of the breast, or mammogram, is still the best way to detect breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, “The benefits of mammography outweighs the potential harm from the radiation exposure. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.” Compression of the breast during a mammogram cannot cause the cancer to spread.

Myth Number Four: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence that links the use of underarm antiperspirants to the development of breast cancer according to the National Cancer Institute.

Myth Number Five: If the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 is detected in your DNA, you will definitely develop breast cancer.

The truth is that according to the National Cancer Institute, regarding families who are known to carry BRCA1 or BRCA2, “not every woman in such families carries a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, and not every cancer in such families is linked to a harmful mutation in one of these genes. Furthermore, not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.”

What myth did you believe?

For other myths about breast cancer, visit The Breast Cancer Deadline 2020.