Dealing with the fact that you (or a loved one) have breast cancer is very hard. But to make the matters worse, there are some myths that make breast cancer even more terrifying. This is why it makes sense to be aware of the misconceptions that could stop you from getting the best treatment for your breast cancer. Some of the myths that you should be aware of include:
Surgery exposes the cancer to air, making it spread: This is not true. Some people feel that the tumor relapses after some time because the cancer cells ‘released’ in the operation room environment come back and can also affect other parts of the body.
Remember - If at all cancer stays in any other organ or a different area of the breast, it is because it had already spread before the surgery commenced. At times, a new cancer may have developed or some cancer cells could not be removed and got left in the body. Some cancer cells also have a tendency to slip into the blood vessel while the surgeons perform the treatment. Adjuvant therapies including Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy, Targeted therapy, or Hormonal therapy help to get rid of any cancer cells that remain in the body after surgery.
Lumpectomy with radiation therapy is not the right choice for patients with a strong history of breast cancer in their families: Again, not true. If breast cancer is somewhat a hereditary disease in your family, it does not make the problem more malignant for yourself. And this is why it does not mean that you cannot have breast conserving therapy treatments like other victims of breast cancer.
The treatment that best suits an individual is decided by the doctor in keeping with the stage and complexity of disease, the patient’s health and her personal preferences. You can go for any treatment as per your condition irrespective of the history of disease in your family.
In the event of your lymph nodes’ removal, your arm remains swollen for the rest of your life – Not correct. Lymph nodes surgery does lead to slightly painful side effects such as general discomfort, numbness, and swelling in form of lymphedema. However this occurs only in about 5-10 percent cases. Chances of lymphedema could be 25 percent when you have complete axillary dissection (removal of nodes at levels I, II, and III), have radiation therapy on lymph node areas for post surgery treatment and also chemotherapy.
Good care of the impacted arm and physiotherapies do help in effective management of lymphedema and reduce its severity.