Cancer is a disease of the wealthy and developed countries.

False: Anyone can get cancer, no matter who you are or where you live.

Only old people get cancer.

False: You can get cancer at any age. The youngest girl in South Africa reported with breast cancer was 12 years old.

Cancer is a death sentence.

False: If detected early, the cancer can be cured.

Cancer is my fate.

False: Cancer is a disease that can affect everyone.

We must not talk about cancer.

False: We must talk about cancer and by talking about it, you are making other people aware of it.

There are no signs or symptoms of cancer.

False: Signs and symptoms for breast cancer:

  • A hard, rough lump in the breast or armpit
  • Swelling of the glands in the armpit
  • Changes in the skin of the breast eg, any new dimpling, indentation or orange peel looking on the skin of the breast
  • Changes in the size of the breast eg, one breast becoming lower than the other, nipples are at different levels
  • Changes in the nipples of the breast eg Nipple retraction (ie) where the nipple turns inward.
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk) ie green and yellow is an infection, redish is a positive sign of cancer or it can be due to injury.

There is nothing I can do about cancer.

False: With the right treatment cancer can be cured.

I don’t have the right to cancer care.

False: Everyone, not matter who you are or where you live, has the right to any medical care.

Children don’t get cancer.

False: In Canada a 4 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer. In South Africa our youngest survivor was 12 years old.

Breast cancer is caused by carrying money in your bra, so only women get it.

False: Using your bra as a pocket causes pain and discomfort. Men also get breast cancer. It is 1% of our population.

Mammograms prevent breast cancer.

False: Mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer, it merely detects if you have it.

Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

False: People with cancer in their family will have a higher risk of getting cancer but you can get cancer even if there is no family history of cancer.

Men don’t get breast cancer.

False: Men can get breast cancer. Reason being men also have a armpit, nipples and breast tissue and muscles.

Everyone’s breast cancer is the same.

False: No one is the same. It can appear in different spots and be different sizes. Some have spread and in the later stages, while some are still in the early stages.

In terms of survival, removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation.

False: It all depends on the size of the breast, the size of the tumour and how far the cancer has spread.

There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer.

False: There are drugs to deduce the size of the tumor.

Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s very important to make treatment decisions immediately.

False: You are entitled to a second opinion.

With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer.

False: There is no cure for breast cancer.

If I am not a scientist, then I won’t be able to understand breast cancer research.

False: Breast cancer is being researched throughout the world , and is explained in detail on cancer research websites for all to understand.

You can catch cancer from other people.

False: Cancer itself is not contagious. People with cancer in the family will have a higher chance of getting cancer than with those with no cancer in the family.

Pesticides cause cancer.

False: What we do know is, there are clear links between many industrial chemicals and some cancers. So if you work with these chemicals, wear protective gear.

KarenPark Clinic Launch - City of Tshwane

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