Unless people experience breast cancer or are close to someone who does, they might not be able to separate myth from fact when it comes to breast cancer.
So let’s talk about the myths, causes and symptoms.
MYTH 1: If I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I won’t get it.
FACT: Most people diagnosed with breast cancer have no known family history.
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.
Still, 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. If there are cases of breast cancer in close blood relatives, share this information with your doctor.
MYTH 2: If you maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat healthily, and limit alcohol, you don’t have to worry about breast cancer.
FACT: Although these behaviours can help lower breast cancer risk significantly, they can’t eliminate it.
Yes, there is evidence that all of these behaviours can help lower your risk. However, they can’t guarantee you’ll never get the disease. There are so many examples of people who do everything right and still get breast cancer.
It’s certainly worth managing the risk factors you can control, such as what you eat and drink and how physically active you are. But it’s still important to get regular screenings, perform breast self-exams, and pay attention to any unusual changes in your breasts.
MYTH 3: Wearing a bra can cause breast cancer.
FACT: There is no evidence that bras cause breast cancer.
From time to time, media coverage and the internet have fuelled myths that wearing a bra can increase breast cancer risk. This is wrong. The theory was that wearing a bra — especially an underwire style — could restrict the flow of lymph fluid out of the breast, causing toxic substances to build up in the tissue.
However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
MYTH 4: Annual mammograms guarantee that breast cancer will be found early.
FACT: Although mammography is the best early-detection tool we have, it doesn’t always find breast cancer at an early stage.
Although mammography is a very good screening tool, it isn’t fool proof. It can return a false-negative result, meaning that the images look normal even though cancer is present. It’s estimated that mammograms miss about 20% of breast cancers at the time of screening.
False-negative results tend to be more common in women who have dense breast tissue, which is made up of more glandular and connective tissue than fatty tissue. Younger women are more likely to have dense breasts.
Mammography does catch most breast cancers, though, and that’s why regular screenings are essential. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in your breasts, perform monthly breast self-exams & have a physical examination of your breasts by a health professional annually.
MYTH 5: Breast cancer always causes a lump you can feel.
FACT: Breast cancer might not cause a lump, especially when it first develops.
People are sometimes under the impression that breast cancer always causes a lump that can be felt during a self-exam. They might use this as a reason to skip mammograms, thinking they’ll be able to feel any change that might indicate a problem.
However, breast cancer doesn’t always cause a lump. By the time it does, cancer might have already moved beyond the breast into the lymph nodes. Although performing breast self-exams is certainly a good idea, it isn’t a substitute for regular screening with mammography.
MYTH 6: Early-stage breast cancer rarely recurs.
FACT: Even with early-stage breast cancer, there is always some risk that the cancer will return.
Many people believe that early-stage breast cancer — cancer that hasn’t moved beyond the breast and underarm lymph nodes — has almost no chance of recurring. Wrong.
Although most people with early-stage breast cancer won’t have a recurrence, the risk never goes away completely.
MYTH 7: Breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women.
FACT: Younger women can and do get breast cancer, as do men. Abisayo Fakiyesi, a survivor we had as a guest on our radio show, noticed her first breast cancer in her 20s.
It is true that being female and growing older are the main risk factors for developing breast cancer. In 2017, about 4% of invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women under age 40, while about 23% were diagnosed in women in their 50s and 27% in women ages 60 to 69.
While 4% might sound small, it isn’t zero: This percentage means that one in every 25 invasive breast cancer cases occurred in women under 40.
Women of all ages need to pay attention to their breasts, perform self-exams, and report any unusual changes to their doctors — and insist that breast cancer be ruled out if there’s a concerning symptom.
3 Reasons You Should Embrace Immunisation
Before vaccines were created, diseases like tetanus, measles, polio, whooping cough killed thousands of children. These days, it is becoming extremely rare to die from these diseases. Some don’t even exist anymore.
Immunisation is a safe and effective way to protect you and your children from harmful, contagious diseases. It also safeguards the health of other people, now and for future generations.
Here are three reasons you should never miss an immunisation shot.
It protects you
All diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious ongoing health conditions, and sometimes death. Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting you and your child against these diseases.
It protects your community
Immunisation protects more than you and your child from serious diseases.
When you get immunised, you protect yourself as well as helping to protect the whole community. When enough people in the community get immunised, it is more difficult for these diseases to spread.
It eradicates diseases
If enough people in the community get immunised against a disease, the infection can no longer spread from person to person. The disease can die out altogether.
It’s been three years since any case of polio was recorded in Nigeria. If the disease doesn’t make a reappearance over the next few years, Nigeria will also join the majority of nations certified as polio-free.
Don’t Keep It All Inside. Talk about it.
Life happens to us all and at times, things might get overwhelming. In moments like this, it’s totally fine to decide not to ‘perform’ happiness. It’s okay to take time off things. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to decline the invitation to that owambe because you need time alone. It’s okay if all you did for a day was breathe and most importantly, it’s okay to ask for help.
What’s not okay is supressing your feelings.
This World Mental Health Day, we would like to remind you that creating a healthy mind-set is an investment in your overall wellbeing. So take care of yourself and then pay attention to others around you because in this journey of life, we need all the support we can get.
We did it!!!
Remember our #PurpleLipsChallenge done in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month back in March? Well, everything just came full circle.
Back then, we encouraged to post pictures of themselves wearing purple lipstick and for every picture posted, we pledged to empower a disadvantaged schoolgirl with reusable sanitary products.
We’re happy to tell you that we’ve made it happen, thanks to you!
In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, we donated free sanitary products to the young girls of Unity High School, Oshodi and Gaskia College, Ijora Badia in partnership with in Sanitary Aid Initiative, a non-governmental organisation. This was done in an effort to not only improve personal hygiene but also ensure that their access to education is unimpeded.
Once again, we would like to thank you for supporting our cause. Because of you, more girls will be able to stay in school all through the school year, thus growing to be just as educated as their male counterparts.