Every WomanGetting the Facts About Breast Cancer Myths
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death in women. In fact, about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Although breast cancer is so prevalent, there are many myths about the disease. Cancer surgeon Natalie Joseph, MD, sheds light on some common misperceptions about breast cancer.
Myth: Young women do not get breast cancer.
Fact: Although the risk of breast cancer increases with age, approximately 25% of all newly diagnosed cancers occur in women under the age of 50.
Myth: Breast cancer only occurs in patients with a strong family history of cancer.
Fact: The majority of cancers (85%) occur in patients with no prior family history of cancer.
Myth: Finding a lump in your breast means that you have breast cancer.
Fact: Eight out of 10 breast lumps are benign (not cancerous). However, if you do find a lump, see a doctor immediately. Regular breast examinations and routine mammograms can help to find problems sooner.
Myth: Mammograms prevent breast cancer. Myth: Mammograms cause breast cancer.
Fact: Mammograms neither prevent nor cause breast cancer. Mammograms allow healthcare providers to detect abnormalities within the breast that cannot be appreciated on examination and allow us to find cancers at an earlier stage. The amount of radiation given during a mammogram is very small.
Myth: Antiperspirants/deodorants, underwire bras and breast implants cause breast cancer.
Fact: There is no scientific data to indicate that any of the above have been linked to the development of breast cancer.
Fact: Although being female is a major risk factor for breast cancer, about 1% of all breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in men.
Myth: If I have breast cancer, I am going to die.
Fact: Increased awareness, early detection, and improvements in surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer has led to improved outcomes and decreased death rates. There are currently an estimated 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Myth: If I don’t have symptoms, I can’t have breast cancer.
Fact: With improvements in screening and early detection, most breast cancers are found when they are completed asymptomatic, cannot be felt and can only be seen on mammography.
Myth: If I have a biopsy or surgery and my cancer is exposed to air, it is going to spread.
Fact: Surgery is the main treatment for breast cancer, and the only way that it can be cured. Surgery performed by surgeons with appropriate training and experience will help to improve your outcome.
Myth: Breast cancer is preventable.
Fact: Unfortunately, it is not. However, through awareness, screening, early detection, and a healthy lifestyle, your breast cancer risk can be lowered. Cancers detected at an earlier stage offer a better chance for a good long-term outcome.
Dr. Joseph reviews more breast cancer basics in this video message: