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7 Common Breast "Truths." How Legit Are They?

June 15, 2015 2 min read

We've heard the statements about sagging and cancer risks, maybe accepted them as true, but the folks at Elle turned to the experts for real answers. Read on to see if you've been thinking about your breasts all wrong!

Without a bra, you're doomed to fall: This on is true-ish

Changes in skin, connective tissue called Cooper's ligaments (akin to an internal bra), or actual soft tissue in the breast, can cause drooping, says Manhattan plastic surgeon Adam Kolker, MD. A supportive bra will help but even that may not be enough. Genetics could seal your sag related fate.

Exercise is the enemy of perky breasts: In extreme cases

"If someone marathon-trains with no bra, there is a gravitational effect," Kolker says. If a woman's body mass index drops below 20, the fat in their glands dissipates and deflates the breast's 'stuffing.'

If your daughter screams "you're ruining my life!" can you scream back "You've ruined my boobs?": Only if you want to act like a teenager

"The longer the milk-producing elements stay swollen, the more the skin stretches," Kolker says. To make matters worse, when women stop breastfeeding, their breasts usually shrink slightly from their pre-baby size—with sag being the result.

Only the foolhardy don't get yearly mammograms after 40: Depends on whom you ask

There are only small benefits to mammograms this early and there are a lot of potential harms (like false positives that trigger unnecessary testing, exposure to radiation etc) so the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends the test for women from 50 to 74, and only once every two years. Other medical groups continue to say that all women over 40 should have a mammogram every year. Mammograms are no longer really considered to be an amazing preventative tool and it is advisable to talk to your doctor about what direction is right for you, in your circumstances and your medical history (both personal and family history).

Using antiperspirant causes cancer: NO

Antiperspirant does not clog the sweat glands and cause toxins to build up, says Elisa Port, MD, chief of breast surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

Alcohol increases the odds of getting breast cancer: Somewhat

Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk by about 20%. 12.5 women out of 100 will get breast cancer so that 20% means that 15 of 100 women who drink 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day will get it.

The larger your breasts, the higher you risk for cancer: Debatable

A 2013 study that followed 80,000 women for 11 years found that those with a C cup were 4 times more likely to die of breast cancer than those with an A cup. But before you panic, other research hasn't turned up any connection. Part of the problem is the role of obesity in breast cancer risks. Two studies found that having larger breasts increases the risk in thin women but not in those who were heavy set. Some of the genes that determine breast size are also linked to breast cancer according to a 2012 study. Seems the science is still unclear on this one.  

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