Breast Cancer Myths Debunked

If every month had a color theme, October’s would be pink because October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! Chances are you know someone who has battled breast cancer and even more likely than that, you’ve probably heard a few myths about what causes breast cancer. Underwire bras, antiperspirants, radiation? Keep reading to get the breast cancer facts you need and debunk all of those crazy myths!

If you’re an aging senior looking to maintain your independent lifestyle, don’t believe all of the myths saying you can’t because with Life Alert Protection, you can! While wearing their lightweight, waterproof medical alert pendant, you can summon an emergency medical response fast with just one touch of a button. No matter if you encounter a home invasion, serious fall or even a home fire, simply push the button on your pendant and Life Alert’s 24/7 dispatch team will send the proper authorities to you fast. Safe, independent living is possible with the right personal protection. So push aside all of the myths about independent living not being safe and get Life Alert Protection today!

Just as Life Alert debunks the myth that seniors can’t live independently in their own home, Everyday Health[1] has decided that a little myth-busting is in order too regarding the female health. Keep reading so you can get your breast cancer facts straight!

Myth No. 1: Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer

“That’s absolutely untrue,” says breast surgical oncologist Kandace McGuire, MD, of the Breast Cancer Program of Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa. Dr. McGuire explains that this myth is based on an old theory that an underwire bra would reduce lymphatic drainage and increase breast cancer risk. “It was not based on any data whatsoever,” she says. Until now.  A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in September 2014 is the first to use a rigorous scientific study designed to investigate whether bra-wearing habits could affect breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Among the factors researchers considered were bra type (including underwire) and daily or lifetime use of bras. Their conclusion: There’s no evidence linking bras to breast cancer risk. So rest assured that constriction of your breasts, whether from an underwire bra or any kind of compression garment, does not affect your breast cancer risk.

Myth No. 2: Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer

“There have been no studies to suggest a link between antiperspirants and breast cancer,” says McGuire. There are two possible points of origin for this cancer myth:

  • Parabens. These chemical preservatives are used in some antiperspirants and some other products. They may increase estrogen levels, which is linked to breast cancer risk. But there is “no decisive link,” says McGuire. Check ingredient labels if you are concerned. Look for the ingredients methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben. However, most brands no longer include these ingredients.
  • Mammogram preparation. Antiperspirants contain some aluminum, which may show up on mammograms as a false-positive result. “One thing that is important for women to know is that when they go for their mammograms, they shouldn’t wear antiperspirants,” advises McGuire.

However, the aluminum in Antiperspirants may prevent underarm sweating, thus reversing toxins that would normally be released through the skin to go back into the body tissue.  More studies need to be performed on whether these toxins could be a catalyst to breast tumors.

Overall, the National Cancer Institute does not advise limiting the use of antiperspirants, but does say more research is needed in this area.

Myth No. 3: Radiation From Screening Tests Causes Cancer

Although mammograms do give off a small amount of radiation, “the radiation dose in a mammogram is less than in a standard chest X-ray,” says McGuire. “It is such a low level that it wouldn’t increase breast cancer risk.” Women should also know that MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and ultrasounds, which may also be used to screen for breast cancer in some women, contain no radiation at all.

Myth No. 4: Exposure to Air Causes Cancer to Spread

McGuire shares a myth she often hears from worried patients — cutting into a cancer and exposing it to air causes the cancer to spread. “That is untrue as well,” she stresses. Patients are naturally worried because cancer does have the potential to spread (called metastasis), but it is not caused by your cancer surgeon cutting into a tumor for a biopsy or to remove it.

Myth No. 5: You Have to Have a Family History to Get Cancer

“Women who don’t have a family history of breast cancer are surprised when they breast-cancer-mythsget breast cancer,” says McGuire. Family history is a well-established risk factor — so well-established that some women may believe it is the only risk factor, but it’s not. “Less than 10 percent of breast cancer patients get it because of a familial history,” she explains.

Myth No. 6: There’s Nothing You Can Do About an Inherited Risk

A strong family history is a cancer risk factor, but just because women in your family have had breast cancer does not mean you are destined to get it. Genetic testing will help you understand your inherited risk and allow you to make choices about your future care. Additionally, McGuire says that research shows that a low-fat diet combined with physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption (fewer than two drinks per day) reduces breast cancer risk. “If you have a family history, you should do everything that you can to decrease your risk,” she advises.

Myth No. 7: Breast Cancer Occurs Only in Older Women

“Increasing age is a risk factor for breast cancer, so the older you are the more likely you are to get breast cancer,” says McGuire. However, that doesn’t mean younger women aren’t vulnerable. Breast cancer can be diagnosed at any age. “It tends to be more aggressive in younger women,” she adds.

Myth No. 8: Plastic Surgery Causes Breast Cancer

The good news for women who want to enhance or reduce their bust size is that there is no link between breast plastic surgery and increased breast cancer risk. Implants can make mammograms more difficult, but they do not make cancer more likely. Women who have breast reduction surgery may actually see a decrease in breast cancer risk. “Getting a breast reduction can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 60 percent, depending on how much they take,” says McGuire.

Myth No. 9: Double Mastectomy Prevents a Return of Breast Cancer

Removing a breast that has not had breast cancer does prevent breast cancer in that breast, but removing a breast that already has cancer still leaves you with a 3 to 4 percent risk of recurrence. “Your survival is based on the first cancer,” says McGuire, not on the removal of additional breast tissue.

Myth No. 10: Mammograms Aren’t Accurate Anyway, So Why Bother?

Recent controversy about the right time for women to begin having mammograms — whether they should begin at age 40 or age 50 — has left some women feeling the screening test may not be worthwhile. Younger women often have denser breast tissue than older women, who have more fat tissue in the breast. “The denser your breasts are, the less accurate your mammogram is going to be,” acknowledges McGuire, but adds, “Having a bad mammogram is better than having none. It’s the only thing that we’ve shown thus far to reduce the mortality from breast cancer.”

Myth No. 11: Self-Exams Aren’t Necessary

Actually, the research is inconclusive on this question. “Most of the women that I talk to in the office are not doing self-exams. But there’s no downside — it’s cheap and easy to do,” says McGuire, who says that only good things can come from being familiar with the shape of your own breasts.

Myth No. 12: Abortion and Miscarriage Increase Breast Cancer Risk

While there is some evidence that having children before the age of 30 can reduce the risk of breast cancer, there is no research to support the idea that the early end of a pregnancy through miscarriage or abortion could increase breast cancer risk.

Now, armed with the facts and not the myths, you will be better prepared and able to reduce your risks of developing breast cancer. Plus, in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness month, spread the word and help others debunk these myths too! It is important to get the facts when it comes to your health and safety, which is why, when it comes to personal protection, Life Alert Protection is the best and most honest emergency medical device you’ll find in the industry; just ask any of their hundreds of thousands happy customers! Simply slip their medical alert pendant around your neck or wrist and in the event of a life threatening emergency, push the button on your pendant and summon an emergency medical response fast. All those breast cancer myths may have your head swirling, but not to worry, Life Alert’s 24/7 dispatch team is available to send you the help you need fast. Pink may be something you wear in October, but Life Alert is what you wear year-round for the best personal protection 24/7! For a free brochure about all of Life Alert’s lifesaving services, call 1-800-513-2934.

Works Cited:

  1. Vann, Madeline. “12 Breast Cancer Myths Debunked.” Everyday Health. 5 September 2014.




Battle Psoriasis Naturally

Your psoriasis is itchy, red and so uncomfortable; so what can you do to get some relief? Although your doctor may recommend topical medications, there is an array of natural items you can use to soothe your symptoms. Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new treatments.

Another area you may want to consider is your stress level. Are you overly stressed or nervous about something? Perhaps the thought of having no personal protection is making your skin break out and itch?  Calm your fears of being unprotected with Life Alert Protection. While wearing their medical alert pendant you can summon an emergency medical response fast with just one touch of a button! No matter if you encounter a home invasion, home fire or even a serious fall, Life Alert’s  24/7 dispatch team is available to send you the help you need fast. Your skin may flake on you, but Life Alert Protection never will; so get the best in personal protection today!

Ok, time to check your pantry! Everyday Health[1] has your list of naturally soothing ingredients for psoriasis below. Keep reading to find out more.

Tea Tree Oil

Derived from a plant native to Australia, tea tree oil is used as an anti-inflammatory agent that can help treat psoriasis, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, and acne, says Jennifer Burns, NMD, a naturopathic doctor at the BienEtre Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal, so don’t apply it full strength directly to skin, warns Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a natural health expert in Kihei, Hawaii. Dr. Dean recommends mixing 1 part tea tree oil to 10 parts olive oil and dabbing it on the affected areas with cotton balls. If you have scalp psoriasis, add 10 drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo, and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Olive Oilpsoriasis-remedy-1

The olive oil you have in your pantry can do double duty as an anti-inflammatory to calm your skin. Thanks to its high fatty acid and vitamin E content, extra virgin olive oil makes a great moisturizer for dehydrated skin. According to a study published in July 2014 in Advances in Skin & Wound Care, olive oil was even found to help heal burn wounds. To ease your psoriasis symptoms, dab a small amount of olive oil on your scalp, elbows, or anywhere you have plaques. This will help to soften dead skin, making it easier to remove, Dr. Burns says. For a soothing full-body soak, add 2 teaspoons of warmed olive oil to your bath water.

Pine Bark Extract

According to a study published in March 2014 in the journal Panminerva Medica, using the pine bark supplement Pycnogenol may improve the effects of your other psoriasis treatments and reduce the number of treatments needed to keep disease progression under control. Pine bark also has antioxidant properties, which make it beneficial for treating acne and slowing the signs of aging. Additionally, Burns says that it can be taken as a supplement to help with the reduction of inflammation associated with psoriasis. Just check with your dermatologist before adding pine bark to your beauty routine.

Coconut Oil

Not only does coconut oil moisturize dry skin and hair, but it can help with psoriasis, too. That’s because it helps to hold in moisture, explains Burns. Dab a small amount on your skin in the same way you would apply a moisturizer. The oil can also be used as a scalp treatment to help loosen psoriasis scales.


Found in many health and beauty products, oatmeal helps to relieve the itching and redness associated with dry skin and psoriasis. But if the idea of an oatmeal bath gives you visions of a potentially soggy mess, don’t fret. Here’s a neater way to do it: Burns suggests adding a half-cup of dry oats to a leg of pantyhose, knotting the top, and placing the package in your warm bath instead.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be helpful as an anti-itch remedy if used properly. But if you leave it on your skin for too long or don’t dilute it correctly, Burns says, there’s a chance that the acidity of the vinegar will dry out your skin, causing more irritation. She recommends mixing one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water. Dab the mixture on your skin or scalp and leave it on for no more than 10 minutes, then rinse. Just don’t use it on areas that are cracked or bleeding.

Aloe Vera

“I love this plant,” Burns says. “It helps reduce inflammation and helps to speed up healing time.” Its many uses, she says, include soothing skin burns, minor cuts, and scrapes thanks to its strong antibacterial, antiseptic, and fungicidal properties. Aloe vera promotes cell growth and acts as a detoxifying agent. You can use pure aloe gel or look for creams with about 0.5 percent aloe content. Apply two to three times a day to help soften skin and calm psoriasis flares.

Baking Soda

Baking soda isn’t just for cooking and cleaning: It can be used in your beauty routine for anything from whitening your teeth to exfoliating dry skin. And its anti-fungal properties make baking soda effective for soothing the itchiness associated with psoriasis. Burns recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste that you can apply to affected areas.

Dead Sea Salt

People have been traveling to the Dead Sea for thousands of years to wade in the body of water known for its healing properties. It’s 10 times saltier than the ocean, and rich in minerals. For home relief from itching and redness, add Dead Sea salts (or Epsom salts) to a warm bath and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. The salt helps to soften scales so that they’ll fall off more easily. Be sure to apply moisturizer after your bath.

Don’t get red, itchy and bothered over your psoriasis anymore thanks to the helpful ingredients above! So while you’re running around gathering your new favorite natural remedies, stay safe under the protection of Life Alert’s emergency pendant. Simply slip their lightweight, waterproof pendant around your neck or wrist and in the event of a life threatening emergency, push the button on your pendant and summon an emergency medical response fast! Plus, Life Alert knows that psoriasis can stick around for a long time, just like dangers in your home, which is why their dispatch team is available 24/7 to send you the proper authorities you need fast. Kick your skin drama to the curb with the natural ingredient suggestions above and kick your personal protection stress with Life Alert Protection! To learn more about all of their lifesaving services, call 1-800-513-2934 for a FREE brochure.

Works Cited:

  1. Theobald, Mikel. “9 Best Natural Ingredients for Psoriasis.” Everyday Health. 14 September 2016. <>.