AlpharettaMoms.Org believes in providing moms with breast health information so that we know the facts and can take any necessary preventative steps to help avoid getting breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we will bring you health related articles as well as ways you donate to help fund the continuous research to eradicate this disease.
By Susan Casella, RN, OCN, breast health coordinator, Northside Hospital Breast Cancer Myths, Busted!
Women are overwhelmed with information about breast cancer – and much of it is wrong. The problem is that some women tend to use this misinformation as an excuse not to have regular breast exams. Getting your facts straight could save your life.
Much research has been done about the causes of breast cancer and many advances made in the detection and treatment of the disease. Although there is still plenty for us to learn, one thing we do know is that breast cancer IS the second most common cancer among women, striking anyone, regardless of age, race or economic status.
Here’s the truth behind some common misconceptions about breast cancer:
Myth: I don’t have breast cancer in my family, so I won’t get it.
Fact: Most women (70-80%) diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer. Simply being a woman and having breast tissue puts you at risk for the disease. However, women who do have a family history are at an increased risk for developing the disease and should discuss with their doctor beginning screenings as early as age 25.
Myth: Finding a lump in my breast means that I have breast cancer.
Fact: Eight out of 10 breast lumps are not cancerous. However, you should still see your healthcare provider if you find one or notice any other changes in your breasts, because catching breast cancer early offers a 98% likelihood of it being cured.
Myth: The government said that I don’t need to get a mammogram anymore.
Fact: The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced in 2009 that it was changing its mammography guidelines. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, American Cancer Society and many other reputable health organizations have since debunked the USPSTF findings for not considering all current data. All women should continue annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination, beginning at age 40.
Myth: Mammograms cause breast cancer.
Fact: While it’s true that radiation is used in mammography, the amount is so minute that any risk is overshadowed by the huge preventative benefits of having the procedure. Mammography is a woman’s best weapon against breast cancer. It is the only test proven to save lives and can find a cancer years before it can be felt, when it is smaller and more treatable.
Myth: I’m too young to worry about breast cancer.
Fact: While it’s true that your breast cancer risk increases as you get older, the fact is that women of all ages are at risk for developing the disease.
Myth: I have small breasts, I can’t get breast cancer.
Fact: There’s no connection between the size of your breasts and your risk of getting breast cancer. However, very large or dense breasts can be harder to examine and spot problems on mammograms. There also is no evidence to prove that having breast implants (silicone or saline) increases the risk of breast cancer. All women, regardless of breast size, should commit to regular screenings.
For more information about breast cancer, visit Northside Hospital.
Original article 10/2012. Updated 2015.