21 October 2010
Think Pink: Busting the Breast Cancer Myths
While this was a case of a child's naivete and a mother's consolation eventually got my cousin back to comfortably chugging Gatorade, this is not unlike situations grown people are faced with every day.
How many times has a well-meaning friend or co-worker sent you an email forward about "The Dangers of [fill in everyday appliance, chemical, grocery product]"?
We all want to protect our families, and when we hear reports of something being unsafe or harmful, we want to spread the word as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, though, those emails don't indicate who is reporting the information, where it's coming from, what research exists, etc. We have to hop onto Google and look for some (reputable) resources ourselves.
On matters of breast cancer, I usually trust the Susan G. Komen Foundation or The National Cancer Institute. Below are a few breast cancer myths and rumors that I've heard, and the truth about them:
1. Plastic bottles can cause cancer: First of all... no single factor has been proven to cause cancer, although some unhealthy behaviors and external factors may increase risk. The Komen site says: "Findings from laboratory studies have found that BPA [a chemical found in some plastics and coatings] can affect hormone levels in animals, although these hormone changes have not been linked to any harmful effects.2 And, at this time, there is no evidence to suggest a link between BPA and risk of breast cancer.
2.Usage of deodorants and antiperspirants can increase risk of breast cancer. This rumor was floating the internet for a while, and I cringed while imagining the new sweaty, smelly America I would have to tolerate for the greater good. Komen reports that there have been no conclusive studies that indicate that chemicals in these products can deeply permeate underarm skin and damage breast tissue.