With all the wide variety of information online about breast cancer, a lot of it inaccurate, Macmillan Cancer Support has appointed its first 'digital nurse' to combat 'fake news' about the disease.
"I'm there to make sure people affected by cancer have a real person they can turn to online for information about their symptoms, cancer diagnosis and treatment," Ellen McPake, Macmillan's new digital nurse specialist told the Daily Mail.
Here are some of the myths about the deadly disease, according to the report.
1. Baking soda can cure breast cancer
Science has shown cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment. This has led many to believe baking soda and other alkaline substances could prevent tumours from growing. However, this is false information and there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
2. Deodorants can cause cancer
Some research has claimed that aluminium-based compounds found in deodorants and antiperspirants can cause the development of tumours. Macmillan Cancer Support states there is no evidence to suggest aluminium can increase a person's risk of developing breast cancer.
3. 'Superfoods' will prevent cancer
While much has been made about foods like blueberries, green tea and acai in decreasing your chances of getting the disease, the truth is no one food holds the cure. "Cancer and the human body are both too complicated for any one food, on its own, to have a major influence over whether or not you get cancer," McPake told the Daily Mail. She recommends a healthy diet and exercise have more scientific basis for reducing your risk of developing the disease.
4. Beat cancer with a positive attitude
Many self-help books encourage patients to adopt a positive attitude to better one’s chance of beating the disease. While having a positive attitude can help patients cope with having the disease, it is not good to solely rely on it as a potential cure. Seeking help to deal with this rough period is important to talk through your feelings.
5. Only smokers get lung cancer
While it is fact that 80-90% of lung cancer cases are due to smoking, it is not the only cause. Family history and passive smoking are some of the contributing factors.
6. A bra's underwire causes cancer
This myth may have originated because obesity increases risk of the disease and overweight women are likely to have larger breasts and wear a bra. However, the wire is not the cause, damaged cells that multiply are. Unhealthy lifestyle like smoking, drinking or not exercising can cause cells to get damaged which contribute to getting the disease.
7. Men cannot get breast cancer
Women's health is mainly the focus when it comes to breast cancer. However, while rare men can also suffer from the disease. Men account for 1% of all cases and usually occur over the age of 60. The cancer develops in breast tissue men have just behind their nipples.
8. Stress causes breast cancer
Psychological stress has been linked to increased risk of developing cancer, even though there is no conclusive evidence. Stress may not be the direct cause of breast cancer but it can lead to unhealthy habits like eating junk or drinking alcohol which can increase cancer risk.
9. You can get cancer from mammograms
Radiation is used to get high image quality of breast cancer. However, the dose used is very low and benefits of getting mammograms outweigh the risks, the report revealed. It also cannot cause cancer or the spread of it.
10. Cancer patients should not eat sugar
Cancer cells growing at a rapid rate causes a lot of energy and so require plenty of glucose. But these cells don't just need sugar; they also require amino acids, as well as fats. Sugar-free diets have not proven to increase chances of survival from the deadly disease.