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Breast Care: Common Misconceptions About Women's Breast And Facts You Need To Know


Facts about women's breast

There are some facts which you must know about your breast health. With so much of information available all around us, it's important to separate fact from fiction.

Is it abnormal to have different sizes for both breasts?

Many women have slight differences in the breast sizes on both the sides and it is perfectly normal. In fact, it's more common to have some degree of asymmetry between the breasts. 

Unless there is a sudden and significant change in the size or shape of the breast, it is usually nothing to worry about. 

Is it normal to have hair on the breast?  

Finding a few hair on the breast around the areola is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate a health problem. However, if you notice excessive or sudden hair growth coming up on your breast, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. 

Can breastfeeding causes breasts to sag?

Entirely untrue. It's actually the natural aging process, changes in the skin elasticity and fluctuations in the weight which play a more important role in the breast sagging.

In fact, breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby and does not lead to any permanent change in the breast shape and it is obviously highly recommended. 

Deodorants, underwired bras, hair dyes, dairy and cell phone use cause breast cancer. So, do not throw out your underwire or a dark colored bra just like that. 

There is no scientific evidence linking the bra type including the underwired bras or any particular color of the bras, bra size or the size to a higher risk of breast cancer. The same is also true for deodorants, antiperspirants, particular foods, milk, increased sugar intake, hair dyes and cell phone use. There is no scientific evidence against all these. So, feel free to use your favorite deodorant without worry. 

Nipple piercing causes increased breast cancer risk. 

Now, this is a myth, it does not increase the breast cancer risk. However, they can cause complications like infections, abscess (which means pus formation), difficulty in breastfeeding later on because of blocked ducts from the scar tissue there, nerve damage, keloids, cyst and more rare but serious illnesses like HIV and hepatitis B and C. So, nipple piercing is a bad idea. If it is already done, I recommend removing it. 

Breast implants can raise your cancer risk? 

No. Women with breast implants are at no greater risk of getting a breast cancer than women who do not have them. Yes, breast implants may make it harder to read mammograms. 

So, sometimes additional x-rays are may be required to fully examine your breast tissue.

Nipple discharge is a sign of breast cancer. 

Not true most of the time, nipple discharge can be a sign of many benign hormonal conditions like a thyroid problem, hyperprolactinemia, PCOS. It can also happen due to intake of certain drugs like antacids or antidepressants. However, any discharge especially a blood stain nipple discharge should be investigated thoroughly. 

Finding a lump means you have a breast cancer? 

No. Discovering a lump in your breast can be actually very scary. But, it does not automatically mean that you have breast cancer. In fact, most of the breast lumps are benign. However, do a self breast examination regularly and report to doctor in case you notice any lump or any abnormalities.

Breast cancer is always accompanied by noticeable symptoms. 

So, one common misconception which people have is that breast cancer always presents with some symptoms such as a lump or a breast pain. However, in many cases breast cancer can be silent and may not cause any obvious signs or symptoms in the early stages. 

That's why regular breast self-examinations, clinical breast examinations by a doctor, ultrasounds and mammograms are very important for early detection. 

Only women can get breast cancer? 

Actually, anybody with a breast can get breast cancer including men. Breast cancer isn't exclusive to women, men can develop breast cancer too. 

The risk is significantly lower but it is very very important for both the men and women to be aware of any unusual changes in their breast tissue and seek a medical advice early. 

Only older women are at risk of developing breast cancer. 

You will be surprised to know that yesterday I saw a woman even at 30 years with breast cancer. I see regularly women in pregnancy with breast cancer. 

So, while the risk of breast cancer increases with age, women of all ages including younger women also can develop breast cancer. Once again, it's crucial, very important for a woman of all ages to be aware of their breast health and engage in regular screenings and self-breast examinations. 

Breast cancer is always hereditary? 

Not really. The majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in reality do not have any known family history. Only 5 to 10 percent of cases are genetically related. 

Even though there is family history of breast cancer, it does not mean that a specific person will definitely contract the illness. 

IVF increases the risk of breast cancer

So, as a part of IVF procedures, the doctors often prescribe drugs that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. 

Now, these drugs mimic the activity of a hormone called estrogen and because of this some people think that they might encourage the growth of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. However, many studies say that it is not true.

Mammograms are painful

Mammograms are essential for early detection of breast cancer and they save lives. With today's modern technology, radiation levels are low and not harmful. Modern mammography equipment is designed to minimize the degree of discomfort since the breasts can be tender just before and after your periods. 

So, you can schedule a mammogram at a different time. Most scientific bodies recommend an annual screening mammogram after the age of 40 years. So, stay informed. Be aware of your risks. Learn about self-breast examination, talk to your doctor about the best breast screening method for you whether it is the ultrasound or a mammogram. Remember, knowledge is power. 

Being educated is the biggest tool especially when it comes to your health. So, thank you today for watching and today like always if you found this information useful, do not forget to share it to your loved ones.


2. Magee B, Stewart AL, Swindell R. Outcome of radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery in screen detected breast cancers. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 1999;11:40–5.

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