Five Things Friday – Myths About Breast Cancer

We have all heard things that seem true but turn out to be false. This is certainly true about cancer. When something complex is not fully understood, we latch onto answers that seem to make sense. Some “facts” are passed down through generations and persist despite evidence to the contrary. Here are five myths concerning breast cancer.

1. Cancer is a death sentence.

Not today! In the past few decades, death rates from all cancers have dropped significantly. Within the U.S. population, those with breast cancer have at least a 90 percent chance of survival. The survival rate for any given individual depends on the type of cancer, how extensively it has spread, the patient’s general state of health, and other factors.

2. Cancer is contagious.

It is surprising that some people still believe this to be true. Cancer is not contagious. If cancerous tissue is transplanted into an otherwise cancer-free patient, there is a very small risk of cancer developing, but donors are closely screened to help prevent this. There are cancers which are caused by specific viruses or bacteria. And, while those viruses and bacteria can be passed from person to person, the cancer itself cannot.

3. Cancer surgery, biopsies, and air exposure spreads cancer.

At one time, it was a widely accepted that when cancer was exposed to air, it spread rapidly throughout a body. Not true! Also, the risk of cancer spreading due to a surgical procedure is extremely low. That’s because surgeons take steps to prevent it. They change instruments if they must work on two different areas of the body. Surgeries and biopsies are a good thing. They are tools to help diagnose, remove, or stop the spread of cancerous tumors.
H2: 4. Cell phones and power lines can cause cancer.
There have been extensive studies that show no increased cancer risk from cell phones or power lines. Gene mutations cause cancer and the low-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and power lines do not damage genes.

 5. Herbal products can cure cancer, but drug companies don’t want you to know.

Not true! Herbal products have not been shown to be effective in cancer treatments. And it cannot be stated enough that herbal products are not regulated in the same manner as legitimate cancer drugs. Purity and consistency in dosages cannot be guaranteed. In fact, some herbal products may lessen the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Always tell you doctor if you are taking herbal supplements.

That said, some herbal products and other alternative therapies may help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, but they will not reduce or eliminate tumors. Your doctor and Albie Aware are the best sources of information for your particular situation.

National Cancer Institute – Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions
National Cancer Institute – Cell Phones and Cancer Risk
National Cancer Institute – Associations between non-ionizing EMFs and cancer in adults

Sign up for our Newsletter

Join thousands of survivors, supporters, care-givers, and others like you who enjoy timely information about breast health, breast cancer and Albie Aware’s programs and initiatives, as well as information on how you can get involved in the cause. Sign up for our quarterly newsletter today!