Six deadly misconceptions about the disease debunked
1. If I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I don’t need screening: Fewer than 10% of people diagnosed have a family history and fewer than 5% have a hereditary gene. Most people diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer.
2. Mammograms are dangerous: Mammograms are a source of radiation, like any X-ray. However, these have never been proved to cause breast cancer. Through many studies and trials, it is thought that out of 1 million women, having annual mammograms from 30 to 40 years, only one or two will develop a cancer as a result of the mammogram. In fact, the dose of a single mammogram is comparable to the radiation one would be exposed to on a flight to, for example, London.
3. Only some women can develop breast cancer: Based on 2014 statistics, in South Africa, breast cancer is the most common cancer in white, Asian and coloured women, and the second most common cancer in black women.
4. Breast cancer affects only women: Men can also develop it but the occurrence is low – at less than 1%.
5. I don’t need a mammogram unless I feel a lump: The aim of a mammogram is to diagnose breast cancer as early as possible, before signs or symptoms develop. By the time a lump is felt, the breast cancer might have spread. Early breast cancer is easier and more successful to treat.
6. Breast cancer cannot be treated: It is treatable and can be cured. There are many new and improved methods of treatment – surgical and/or through the use of hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and/or radiation. The earlier breast cancer is treated, the more likely it is to be successfully eradicated – but more advanced cancers can also be successfully treated. – Source: 1st for Women
THEN AND NOW: Yavi Madurai reflects on her cancer journey.