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Breast cancer fact or fiction

The truth about common misconceptions

SAN ANTONIO – Searching the internet about breast cancer can lead to many false reports and claims. 

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio, wants to set the facts straight. 

Here are her answers to common claims that are false. 

Wearing an underwire bra can cause breast cancer
"We think that because the underwire bra may cause a little bit of inflammation in the breast that might increase the risk. But there's actually no data for that so it is fiction," Kaklamani said. 

Women need to do regular self breast exams.
​​​​​​"Fiction, that's a surprise usually women are taught that every month around the same time during their period they need to be doing a self breast exam, and our studies have shown that they do not help find breast cancer early." Kaklamani said. 

 ​​​​​Having breast implants increases the risk for breast cancer.
 "Breast implants do not increase the risk for developing breast cancer," Kaklamani said. "What they can do is they can make it a little harder for us to see it on a mammogram, because the breast tends to be a little more compressed." 

 If I don't have a family history of breast cancer I won't get it.
 "Incorrect, so a lot of women that get breast cancer don't have a family history," Kaklamani said. "They always come to our clinic and wonder why did they get breast cancer and you know one in eight women get breast cancer they're unfortunately that one in eight."

Annual mammograms guarantee that breast cancer will be found early. 
"Not true," Kaklamani said. "Annual mammograms are what we recommend as the standard of care test, but a lot of times we might miss breast lumps, we might miss changes in the breast that are just not seen in mammograms."

Carrying your cellphone in your bra can cause breast cancer.
"It does not cause breast cancer as far as we know, Kaklamani said. "We know there's a little bit of radiation with cellphones and this is an evolving field, but carrying the cellphone with us does not increase our risk for breast cancer."

 

As for the facts of breast cancer, Kaklamani says the median age of breast cancer is 62, the biggest risk factor is being a woman and the second biggest risk factor is age. 

"The older we get we are higher risk, but women in their 20s can also get it," Kaklamani said. 

A key take away is being aware of your breasts and understanding if you see a change to not ignore it and see a doctor. 


Take a look at breast cancer stories we've covered this October


About the Author:

Erica Hernandez

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience in the broadcast news business. You can catch Erica on GMSA and GMSA at 9 most mornings.