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Cancer may be the most common killer in Singapore, and breast cancer the most common one women get diagnosed with, we have to admit that many of us don’t know much about this illness. Here are five common myths about breast cancer and the truths about them:

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#1: Do you have a higher chance of contracting breast cancer if you have larger breasts?

The simple answer is no. However, a fatty diet and lack of physical activity are risk factors that you have to take note of.

#2: Do all breast cancer patients have to remove their breasts?

A mastectomy is not the only way of treatment. The type of treatment a patient goes through depends on the stage and type of cancer. After an assessment, the doctors would recommend the best protocol.

#3: Is breast cancer contagious?

It’s hilarious but if you go to Google and type in “is cancer…” the first suggestion that pops up is “contagious”. And indeed we’ve heard of people who avoid interacting with cancer patients for fear of being “infected”. Breast cancer, or any type of cancer, is NOT contagious. It is perfectly safe to touch, share food and even have sexual intercourse with a cancer patient.

#4: Am I definitely getting breast cancer because I have a relative who has it?

If the relative is someone close to you genetically, such as your mother or sister, you’re at a higher risk of developing it yourself. However, a higher percentage of women who contract breast cancer does not have a family history, and many with family history aren’t diagnosed. The key is really to be vigilant about your health and go for regular screening.

#5: If I’m risk for breast cancer, there’s really nothing I can do to prevent it from happening.

There’s definitely no sure way for anyone to prevent breast cancer from happening, however there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk. For instance, losing weight if you’re obese, engaging in regular physical activity, cutting down on alcohol or quit smoking. Going for regular screening and doing self-examination helps with early detection too.

Find out more about breast cancer or donate to the cause at the Breast Cancer Foundation website.

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