Can depression or wearing an underwire bra increase the risk of breast cancer? No, say medical experts.
Doctors at a leading New Delhi hospital, busting myths related to breast cancer, also underlined that stressful and erratic lifestyle, mothers not nursing babies adequately, smoking and pollution have put women at higher risk of the disease.
“On Internet and various WhatsApp groups, many people are circulating unsubstantiated information on causes of breast cancer. And, a lot of that is sheer myth.
“A popular one is that wearing of an underwire bra increases the risk of the disease. But claims that such bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate, and lead to breast cancer have been widely debunked as unscientific,” says Dr Seema Sud.
Sud, Consultant in the Department of CT Scan and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, women, old or young should not get swayed by such myths.
“Then some people think depression or plastic surgery (for breasts) can increase the risk, but again these are all myths and people would do well to be cautious,” she said.
The hospital on Saturday hosted a breast cancer awareness programme on its campus, where Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi urged the media to create greater awareness on it and said, her ministry is contemplating making a campaign film with a celebrity.
“Early detection by various techniques including self- examination, healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol and smoking can go a long way in prevention of breast cancer,” she said.
Over a lakh new incidences of breast cancer occur in India annually, and doctors say, with “changing lifestyle” and “work regimen”, the cases will continue to rise.
Health experts warn the situation has already reached an “alarming” level in the country.
“Women in big cities, both housewives and working, are more susceptible to getting breast cancer. Routine smoking and alcohol consumption, pollution, anxiety and erratic lifestyle already make them prone to the disease.
“But junk and packaged food consumption, and mothers not breastfeeding babies enough are also among the factors contributing to them getting afflicted by this cancer,” Senior Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Shyam Aggarwal said.
In India, breast cancer is the leading (type of) cancer with 1.5 lakh new cases being diagnosed every year and approximately 75,000 deaths per year, said Madhavi Chandra, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiology at the hospital.
Surgical Oncologist at the hospital, Rakesh Koul said, while sedentary job regime may not directly affect a person, it may cause obesity and that is a contributing factor, so “indirectly it does increase the risk”.
Gandhi had also said that mammography scares women and stigma attached to cancer make them hesitant to go for early screenings.
Though women aged 30-35 and above are generally more susceptible to the disease, doctors say cases of women as young as 18 and as old as 75-80 are also being diagnosed.
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