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Breast cancer and lumps: between a rock and a hard place

Mitigating misinformation is a priority: #Saludsinbulos and SOLTI, aware that the majority turn to the networks for information, collaborate to debunk the rumors that spread about breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the pathologies on which a greater number of bulls circulate. This is what they point out from the #SaludsinBulos Institute, which together with the SOLTI Foundation for cancer research, has signed an agreement that allows different health professionals to help disprove false beliefs, as well as define strategies that make it possible to educate the population.

When we don’t know, the Internet has the answer

And there are many patients who go to the “Network of Networks” to find out about their illness: what they can do, what is recommended in the case of suffering from it are some of the questions that have more room in the searches

Youtube, screen, mobile, bulls, internet, application, iphone, colon

Because the internet has answers for everything… The point is to know which ones are correct.

The president of SOLTI, Dr. Aleix Prat, warns:

“False information or without scientific evidence about breast cancer can delay diagnosis, interfere with treatment and harm the emotional state of patients”

Faced with this situation, EFEsalud has Carlos Mateos, coordinator of the #SaludsinBulos initiative, to shed light on the rumors linked to cancer, what they can mean and how we can prevent their spread.

Hoaxes: partial truths

As a general rule, bulls stick to one partial truth to proliferate, thus getting a greater number of people to believe in it. But this “fact” on which they are based is extrapolated and manipulated, until reaching conclusions that are as excessively false as they are dangerous.

What are the most common lumps of breast cancer?

The health communication consultant insists that there are many buzzwords linked to the concept of cancer, but if we have to be specific about breast cancer, the following stand out:

  • Breast cancer due to repressed emotions. There are many gurus, books, videos that we find on the net that explain that every disease has a psychosomatic origin. In the case of breast cancer, repressed emotions are responsible for the development of this pathology. Although the emotional influences many aspects of the immune system, it will never be the cause of a medical illness of such caliber.
  • The miraculous shark cartilage. The belief that shark cartilage kills cancer cells is much more widespread than we think.
  • Homeopathy, a classic. Alternative medicine has always been around. It is a pseudoscience that plays with the placebo effect and that has a lot of room these days.
  • Superfoods: remove, prevent, the solution to all ills. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that help keep you healthy, but in no case does it prevent breast cancer, despite the fact that there are many who talk about “miracle diets”
  • Mammograms as a cause of cancer they are supposed to prevent. There are those who claim that mammograms do not prevent cancer, but rather cause it. But, as Carlos Mateos says, “the benefit is much higher than the possible risk of radiation.”
  • Underwired bras cause breast cancer. They support lymphatic tissue obstruction to point out that this type of subjection can lead to greater words. And, even if it is true that after surgery the use of underwired bras is prohibited, the reason does not have any correlation with the cancer itself, but with the post-surgery.
  • Deodorants or antiperspirants and their carcinogenic compounds. Deodorants or antiperspirants have, in some cases, certain components that can be labeled as carcinogens. It is clear that, no matter how much interest is put into it, not all antiperspirant products have them, nor those that do contain enough of this component to be considered carcinogenic.

Healthcare staff lose the trust of patients

But, beyond knowing which bullies are the most widespread and why they spread, the coordinator of #SaludsinBulos points out an important factor when dealing with bullies: the distrust of the patient.

According to a survey carried out by this same institution, in recent years up to 82% of health workers surveyed have assured that patients are increasingly wary of medical recommendations.

The Danger of Clickbait and Memes

And, in addition to mistrust, the way information is currently presented also plays a crucial role in this regard.

The known as “clickbait” causes the population to assimilate as real a small portion of manipulated information, presented at first in a vague and unspecific way. And all to look for the click of the user. Likewise, the speed with which we inform ourselves and the little effort we put into doing it well and consciously only makes everything worse.

Added to this is the fact that, from the point of view of humor, the misinformation. And it is that memes create a state of opinion for various interests.

“It has been done before in politics and it is also done in health,” says Carlos Mateos.

Fighting bullies… from education?

Once we are aware of the crossroads that cancer is at today, the only question that arises is how can we stop the spread of these cries?

The concept that Mateos uses is very simple: The education.

On the one hand, he points out that the healthcare-patient relationship and poor communication between them could stop medical staff from training in close and effective communication. Because if, after a short period of time dedicated to individual care, you add a few communication skills, the patient will always be suspicious.

On the other hand, it underlines the importance of education in the younger generationsa priority that can already be seen in many countries, where young people are taught to be critical of information.

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