Unfortunately the answer is that nothing can stop you from getting Breast Cancer. All the scientists and doctors in the world have not determined a way to prevent cancer developing.

But the good news is that we are clear about the ways we can cure cancer. And that cancer caught early is normally the easiest to cure.

Cancer caught early is normally the easiest to cure

Will regular mammograms prevent cancer?

Regular mammography provides a method of early diagnosis and allows doctors to investigate worrying areas of the breast before they develop into cancer, but it does not prevent a patient from getting cancer. We have not developed any method of doing that yet. We only know how to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

Will eating a healthy diet prevent Breast Cancer?

This is difficult because eating a healthy diet is good for you, and can reduce your risk of other cancers such as colon cancer. It is also good for your heart to eat healthily and exercise regularly. There is no known way to prevent Breast Cancer however, and there is no diet (despite some being marketed) to prevent or reduce Breast Cancer. It is a good idea to lose weight however, because we know that and increased BMI can increase your risk of Breast Cancer after the menopause.

Myths about what causes Breast Cancer

We may not understand fully why cancer happens, and we may not know how to prevent it. But we do know what doesn’t cause cancer. And here are some of the myths you may have heard. The good news is that they are not true.

Does the pill cause Breast Cancer?

Many trials have looked at the link between the pill and Breast Cancer. The pill contains hormones which mimic the hormones the body uses to control fertility (oestrogen and progesterone) and it has been shown that these can increase the risk of getting Breast Cancer whilst you are taking them. In the decade after the pill is stopped however, your risk goes back to normal. Only some studies show this risk however, and it seems like it may only affect some people. It is important to discuss this kind of risk before you start the pill, particularly if your family or personal risk of Breast Cancer is high.

Wearing a bra can give you cancer...

There is no relationship between wearing a bra and getting cancer. It is sometimes believed that bras stop toxins flowing out of the breast but this has never been proven and does not make anatomical sense. It is true that obesity is a risk factor for cancer, so it may be that slender women, who may not need to wear bras, get cancer less often but it is unrelated to the bra.

Drinking water from plastic bottles can give you cancer…

Plastic bottles are made from many chemicals and some of these, called dioxins, have been found to cause cancer in animal experiments. It is thought that exposing water to the bottles, especially if heated by the sun, can cause the chemicals such as BPA to flow out into the water and increase the risk of cancer. As yet there is no correlation between Breast Cancer and these chemicals in humans. Most one-time bottles used for water do not contain BPA but to be on the safer side, you can opt for bottles labelled BPA-free, or labelled five, four, two or one in the recycling emblem on the bottom.  Or better yet, use glass bottles, which are also better for the environment.

Using cell phones could be harmful to your breast…

The largest study done on this subject, published in 2010 could not find a link, but it was also unable to disprove a link. One of the problems is trying to estimate how much ‘high’ use from a person’s own estimate is. One type of brain cancer was increased among frequent cell phone users but overall they had a lower rate of cancer than never-users.