There are many myths known as facts about breast cancer. Followings are some of these myths.

I won’t be able to have children after chemo

False! With chemotherapy, every effort is made to spare a patient’s fertility. Men can freeze their sperm, and women can freeze their eggs. There are also drugs for women that suppress ovarian function during chemo treatment. Many women go on to have safe pregnancies and healthy children after chemotherapy.

Chemo will make me lose all my hair

False! Not every chemotherapy drug causes hair loss. Some chemo drugs only cause hair thinning. How much hair you lose depends on the type of chemo you receive as well as the drug combination. Most types of chemotherapy affect the rapidly dividing cells in the body, such as those in the hair follicle. However, patients can take targeted chemo meds that influence specific cells. With these types of drugs, the hair is usually not affected. The START Center provides a product known as the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System to help prevent hair loss.

Chemotherapy is painful

False! Many patients are afraid of the pain from chemo. This is one of chemo’s most common myths. While there are side effects, chemo medications have advanced so much that many patients will be treated on an outpatient basis. While chemo may have its drawbacks, pain is one that has significantly been reduced.

There’s only one type of chemotherapy, and it can treat any type of cancer

False! Many people believe all kinds of cancer can be treated with the same chemotherapy drug. This is not true as different drugs treat different types of cancer and work in different ways. According to the American Cancer Society, different chemotherapy drugs work by destroying cancer cells, shrinking tumors, and relieving symptoms of cancer. Chemotherapy may be administered before, after, or in conjunction with other treatments.

A patient going through chemotherapy can contaminate others

False! Patients don’t become toxic during chemotherapy. I’m frequently asked if a patient should sleep in another bedroom while going through treatment or use separate restrooms or take other precautions. It is perfectly fine to maintain your regular lifestyle. 

Chemo will completely disrupt my life.

False! The drastic side effects that patients experienced many years ago are not as prevalent today, thanks to medical advances. Fatigue is the most common side effect, and can vary significantly from person to person. 

Most often, the fatigue lasts for a few days after chemo, but, by and large, patients go on living their normal lives throughout treatment (including work), with some modifications to their diet and routine. 

Patients also can receive treatment in a setting that’s close to where they live and work. 

If my physician prescribes chemotherapy, it means my illness is terminal.

False! Chemotherapy is one of the methods used for treating cancer, and may be combined with others, suchas surgery and radiation.

The type of chemotherapy prescribed and frequency of administration depends on the type of cancer and is not indicative of a patient’s outlook. In fact, chemotherapy is most often used as a preventive measure to prevent cancer from recurring at a later date and improve the odds of cure.

Radiotherapy increases the cancer risk in the other breast

False! The aim of radiation therapy is to prevent cancer in the same breast and irradiation of a breast does not make any risk of cancer for the other breast. Of course there is a relation between radiation and cancer: For example, girls who have received radiation therapy for their Hodgkin disease, have more risk of breast cancer because maturating breast tissues are defenceless against radiation damage. As another example, in 2nd world war in Hiroshima the number of breast cancers in that region increased a lot due to nuclear bombardment which is a strong source of radiation. Since radiation therapy in breast cancer is applied only on the breast ragion, it does not cause cancer in other parts of the body.

Radiation therapy will cause nausea and vomiting

False! Nausea or vomiting is site-dependent. Depending on which part of the body the patients have been taking radiations for example if the patient is undergoing radiation therapy on stomach or pelvis than there are chances of nausea but the doctor does provide medications to control before the initiation of the treatment. Radiation therapy per se does not cause nausea/vomiting except when it’s being given along with chemotherapy or directed to an abdominal area. To give an example breast radiations might lead to some mild nausea but does not lead to vomiting.

Radiation therapy causes hairloss

False if radiation therapy is not applied to your head! One of the side effects of radiation is hair loss for some treatment. For example, If any part of the brain is to be treated, then there are chances of hair fall, but they come back after a few months.

Radiation therapy makes me radioactive

Just in some cases! External radiotherapy does not make you radioactive, as the radiation passes through your body. Radiation comes from an external souce out of your body, passes through your body and no radioactivity remains in your body. In internal radiation therapies, radioactive material is either injected  or patient drinks it, so the body becomes radioactive. Usually in these cases, the patient is isolated in a seperated room.

Radiation therapy is painful

Not exactly! In daily therapy patients do not feel any pain but they may feel some heat in their irrediated part of body. By and by, the patient may observe dryness and itchiness in her skin after radiation therapy which may be bothering. Seldomly, they may cause the stop of the treatment.

If your lymph nodes are removed, your arm will be swollen for the rest of your life.

False! Lymph node surgery can lead to uncomfortable side effects, including lingering discomfort, numbness, and swelling called lymphedema. Usually, this happens in only 5-10% of cases. The risk of lymphedema can approach the 25% level if you have a full axillary dissection, (levels I, II, and III of nodes removed) AND radiation was added to the lymph node areas after surgery, AND chemotherapy was also given. Proper use and care of the affected arm, as well as physical therapy, can help manage lymphedema and reduce its severity. Learn more about preventing and managing lymphedema

If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family, lumpectomy plus radiation is not for you.

False! Having breast cancer in your family does not mean that your cancer is automatically more threatening than anyone else’s. It doesn’t mean that breast-conserving therapy is not an option for you. You and your doctor will weigh several factors in deciding which type of surgery is right for you, based on your disease stage, the cancer’s “personality,” and how aggressive you want to be to prevent a recurrence or a new cancer from ever starting in that breast.

Mastectomy is safer than lumpectomy with radiation therapy. Not necessarily true.

Sometimes False! For people who have one site of breast cancer with a tumor less than four centimeters that is removed with clear margins, lumpectomy with radiation is likely to be equally as effective as mastectomy.

Surgery opens up the cancer to the air and makes it spread

False! You’re feeling just fine, and then something suspicious is discovered in your breast. Surgery is performed and the diagnosis comes back: cancer. If later tests show cancer elsewhere, you may immediately think that it was the surgery that released the cancer cells to the air, letting them jump all over the body.  If there is cancer in other parts of your body after surgery, it is because the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body before surgery or a new cancer has developed.

Men do not need to worry about breast cancer

False! But, most men will not get breast cancer. Male breast cancer is a very rare disease. The ratio of male-to-female breast cancer diagnosis is 1 man to every 120 women. From every 1600 breast cancer male patient, 400 of them pass away due to the cancer. So it is important for male to control their body.

Breast cancer leads to death

If breast cancer is discovered and treated early, the cure rate can reach up to 98%. Breast cancer is one of the cancers that can be diagnosed early by mammography which is an x-ray of the breast. Due to improvement in screening procedures and treatment of breast cancer, the number of breast cancer survivors is increasing. For each disease, God has created a cure and He All Mighty has commanded us to seek steps and strive and not be lazy, we therefore must take the initiative to be regular in our check-ups and seek the doctor’s guidance and be committed to proper treatment if needed. 

Self-exmination is the best way of breast cancer diagnosis

False! You can diagnose your cancer as soon aspossible via the most modern mammography systems. When a lump is as big as it can be palped by hand, it is much bigger than what can be detected by mammography. However, self-examination or regular examination by a specialist is very important, but not the best way. Only 25% of breast cancers are diagnosed just by physical examination, 35% just by mammograpphy and 40% by both, so both self-examination and mammography are important.

High fat diets cause breast cancer

False! High fat diets do contribute to heart disease and colorectal cancer, but not to breast cancer. However, high calorie diets cause obesity, higher estrogen levels, and an increased risk of breast cancer, because high fat increases the production of estrogen out of ovary and increased the general estrogen level of body.

Birth control pills may cause breastcancer

False! Modern birth control pills contain very low dose of estrogen and progesterone. According to the last researches, no relation between these pills and breast cancer is observed, but researches could discover a very little increase in breast cancer risk due to the pills. On the other hand, birth control pills have some benefits such as:

1- Lessen the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers

2- Preventing serious infections in your ovaries and cysts in your ovaries

3- fixing bone thinning

Deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer

False! The myth of deodorants and antiperspirants causing cancer is a very popular, but untrue, one. Many people think the harmful chemicals in the products get absorbed into the lymph nodes and spread to the breast cells, causing cancer. However, there is no evidence linking either antiperspirant or deodorant to breast cancer. Antiperspirants and deodorants are safe to use.

Breast cancer can be heritage only from mother side of family.

False! if you have a strong family history of breast cancer on either your mother’s or your father’s side, this is an important risk factor that should be taken seriously. The reson is the fact thathalf of your genes come from your mother and the other half come from your father. A male with breast cancer can give his genes to his daughter or his son as well. The risk of advancing cancer in male with cancer genes is much less than females carrying the same gene. This is why if you want to analyse your father side of family, it is better to analyse females of your father side.

If I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I won’t get it.

False! Many people think of breast cancer as an inherited disease. But only about 5–10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, meaning they’re caused by abnormal changes (or mutations) in certain genes passed from parent to child.The vast majority of people who get breast cancer have no family history, suggesting that other factors must be at work, such as environment and lifestyle.

Women with high risk factors are usually the ones who will have breast cancer.

False! 76 percent of women who have breast cancer had none of the risk factors.  Being female is the highest risk factor. All women are at risk.  Most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. Only about 13 percent of women diagnosed have a first-degree female relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer.

Breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women.

False! It is true that being female and growing older are the main risk factors for developing breast cancer. In 2017, about 0.5% of invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women under age 40, while about 4% were diagnosed in women between 40 and 59 and 7% in women ages 60 to 79. This means in general your total probability of being cancer is 25% in your whole life.

Feeling a lump in breast means I have breast cancer.

False! A lump on your breast does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. While having lumps on your breasts is a symptom of breast cancer, there are also many non-cancerous lumps. There is a greater chance that the lump on your breast is non-cancerous, and actually just a benign lump. Two common benign lumps are cysts, which occur most often in women aged 35-50 and women undergoing menopause, and breast abscesses, a sore lump accompanied by fever and tiredness. Before concluding what type of lump you have, you must see a doctor for proper screening and check-up.