Admit it. You’ve received at least one e-mail that has suckered you in by warning you of some impending doom scenario, and after being forwarded to dozens of people, it turns out to be completely false.
It happens to the best of us at one time or another. A well-meaning friend or family member passes along seemingly important information that looks and sounds true, but instead, it is a well-concocted hoax.
In recent years, Internet myths, urban legions or hoaxes about breast cancer have been widely circulated. Here are six of the most famous:
Antiperspirants. Internet e-mail rumors have suggested that chemicals in underarm antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin, interfere with lymph circulation, and cause toxins to build up in the breast. These toxins eventually lead to breast cancer.
Truth: There is very little laboratory or population-based evidence to support this rumor. One small study has found trace levels of parabens (used as preservatives in antiperspirants and other products), which have weak estrogen-like properties in a small sample of breast cancer tumors. However, the study did not look at whether parabens caused the tumors. This was a preliminary finding, and more research is needed to determine what effect, if any, parabens may have on breast cancer risk. On the other hand, a large study of breast cancer causes found no increase in breast cancer in women who used underarm antiperspirants or shaved their underarms.
Bras. Internet e-mail rumors and at least one book have suggested that wearing tightly-fitted or underwire bras cause breast cancer by obstructing lymph flow.
Truth: There is no good scientific or clinical basis for this claim. Women who do not wear bras regularly are more likely to be thinner, which would likely contribute to any perceived difference in risk.
Breast Implants. An Internet rumor circulated purported that breast implants significantly increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer.