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Breast cancer myths - separate the facts from the fiction

30 SEPTEMBER 2010

1. Using deodorant does not cause breast cancer
There is no scientific evidence that anti-perspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer or increase the risk of the disease. More information is available at http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/cancercontroversies/

2. An ill-fitting bra cannot cause breast cancer
There is no evidence to show that tight or under-wired bras cause breast cancer.

3. Women are more likely to develop breast cancer in their 60s and 70s than in their 30s and 40s
The risk of breast cancer is strongly linked to age. Eighty per cent of cases are found in women aged 50 and over.

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4. Lumps are not the only sign of breast cancer
Other possible signs include changes in the size, shape or feel of your breasts, any puckering, dimpling or redness of the skin, changes to the position of the nipple, a rash or nipple discharge, or pain or discomfort that is new to you and felt only on one side. Further information is available at http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/spotcancerearly/

5. Breast screening over the age of 70 is important as older women are more likely to develop breast cancer
Cancer Research UK encourages women over 70 to ask their GPs about arranging screenings after their routine appointments stop.

6. Middle class women are more likely to develop breast cancer
Breast cancer is more common among affluent women than women from low socio-economic groups, which may be due to lifestyle factors such as having children later or having fewer children.

7. Black and Asian women can also develop breast cancer
Although rates vary between different ethnic groups, breast cancer remains the most common cancer among all women.

8. Breastfeeding children decreases breast cancer risk
Scientific evidence consistently shows the longer a woman breastfeeds the more she reduces her risk of the disease. Further information is available at http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/index.htm

9. Waiting to have children until your 30s increases breast cancer risk
Studies show that the more children a woman has, and the younger she is when she has them, the lower her risk of breast cancer.

10. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer
All types of alcohol, including red wine, can increase the risk of breast cancer. The more you cut down on alcohol, the more you reduce your risk.

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