Myths and Facts About Your Breasts

Let’s talk about your breasts. Weird thing to say, right? Well, here at New England Women’s Healthcare, our experts are all about defying the taboo in order to get accurate, helpful information out there. 

One particular passion point is breast health. The internet is chock-full of myths about breast health, and we’re here to dismantle them. 

As you’ll notice, these myths all have something to do with breast cancer. For whatever reason, misinformation about breast cancer floods the internet (particularly social media) all the time. Let’s set the record straight and separate fact from fiction.

1. Myth: Wearing a bra causes breast cancer

The truth: There is no evidence showing that wearing a bra causes breast cancer.

You can safely continue wearing your bra, if you want to. As the myth goes, wearing a bra prevents your pores from breathing and causes “toxins” to build up, but we assure you, your bra isn’t preventing your body from its natural detox processes. 

2. Myth: Antiperspirant causes breast cancer

The truth: Some studies have linked ingredients in deodorants to changes in body tissues, but no studies conclusively support the link between antiperspirants and breast cancer.

Some scientists have voiced concern over antiperspirants that contain aluminum, because research has shown that aluminum-containing products can alter the tissues inside our bodies. 

The theory goes that because deodorants are used so close to the breasts, aluminum-containing antiperspirants can cause harmful changes to breast tissue. However, no research to date confirms this theory, relegating it to the myth realm as well.  

3. Myth: No lumps means no breast cancer

The truth: You can develop breast cancer without the presence of lumps.

It’s important to recognize the other signs of breast cancer, which include color changes, a change in size of one or both breasts, dimpling or puckering of the skin, rash-like symptoms, nipple discharge, and pain. 

4. Myth: If you’re healthy, there’s no need to worry about your breasts

The truth: Living a healthy lifestyle can certainly reduce your risk of breast cancer, but it can’t eliminate your risk.

We should all strive to eat nutritious diets and get regular exercise and plenty of sleep, as those habits do reduce our risk of many diseases and some cancers. However, even the healthiest people can develop breast cancer. Many factors besides diet and exercise affect your risk for breast cancer. 

5. Myth: Men can’t get breast cancer

The truth: Although it’s not as common, men can develop breast cancer.

Male breast cancer is rare, but it can happen. It most commonly occurs in older men, but it can develop at any age. Men should stay aware of signs of breast cancer and learn about their family history of breast cancer.

6. Myth: Mammograms cause breast cancer

The truth: The dose of radiation during mammograms is extremely low and safe. 

Mammograms remain the best way to catch early signs of breast cancer, and the benefits of mammograms far outweigh the risks. Though there are limitations to this technology, regular screenings are important for your health.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to reach out to your health care provider with questions about breast health. 

If you have concerns about breast cancer, call 781-787-3003 to schedule a consultation at our Woburn, Massachusetts, clinic or request your appointment online. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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