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6 October 2016

Busting breast cancer myths

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so let's take a look at some of the persistent myths surrounding this disease.

We probably all know someone who has had breast cancer, or who has a loved one who has been a victim of the disease. We all know it's incredibly important to be aware of the risks and to look out for early warning signs. But what else do we really know about it? Here, we bust some myths around breast cancer. 

Breast cancer only happens to women.
False.

It’s true that breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in South Africa, after non-melanoma skin cancer. However, it can happen to men too – although it’s 100 times more common in women.

Only older women get breast cancer.
False.

While women over 40 are more likely to get breast cancer, it can, and does, happen to younger women. All women should examine their breasts (visit the CANSA website for tips) every month to check for changes, and women over 40 should have a mammogram every year.

My diet and lifestyle affect my chances of cancer.
True.

Certain food and lifestyle choices, such as drinking alcohol, can increase your chances of breast cancer. To minimise your chances, ensure you have a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, and enjoy regular exercise.

No one in my family has had breast cancer, so I’m safe.
False.

Some breast cancers are caused by defective genes that can be passed down to you, so if your mother or grandmother had breast cancer, it’s definitely worth being hyper-vigilant. While only about 15% of all breast cancers are genetic, women with the defective genes have an 80% chance of contracting it. Angelina Jolie famously chose to have a double mastectomy after she found out she carried the BRCA1 cancer gene.

Having children, or not, affects my chances of breast cancer.
True.

Women who have not had children, or had them after the age of 30, have an increased risk of breast cancer. Experts say this could be because of the effect of the hormones and changes in the body associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Breast cancer won’t happen to me.
Maybe true. Maybe false.

No one can know what the future holds – which is why it’s vital to know the risks of breast cancer and focus on early diagnosis and treatment.

As well as looking after your health, however, it’s just as important to look after your family’s financial future, and to plan for when the unthinkable happens.

That’s where Vodacom’s Life Cover comes in – you trust Vodacom to be SA’s best mobile network, but did you know they’re also one of SA’s top insurance companies?

Vodacom Life Cover and Funeral Cover give you the peace of mind to focus on recovery should you be diagnosed, knowing that, should the worst happen, your loved ones will be taken care of.

For more information on how Life and Funeral Cover can help you plan for your family’s future, visit the Vodacom Insurance website »