Breast Cancer Myths Debunked

Pink RibbonOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and part of being aware is getting the correct information and debunking the myths associated with breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. has identified some common myths about breast cancer, and why they are myths.



Myth 1:   

A lump in the breast means you have breast cancer.

Of course, persistent lumps or noticeable changes in breast tissueshouldn’t be ignored, but only a small percentage of lumps in the breast tissue are determined to be cancer. See a doctor for a breast exam so they can determine if a lump is cause for concern.

Myth 2:

Breast cancer only affects women.

Unfortunately, men have a higher mortality rate associated with breast cancer than women, simply due to the fact that men do not assume abnormalities are breast cancer. Around 2,190 men are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Myth 3:

If you get a mammogram, you are at risk of the cancer spreading.

Mammograms cannot cause cancer to spread. It is recommended that women get an annual mammogram beginning at age 40.

Myth 4:

Breast cancer in your family puts you at a very high risk for breast cancer.

Most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer. About 10 percent of breast cancer patients have a family history of breast cancer.

Myth 5:

Breast cancer is contagious.

The spreading of uncontrolled growth of mutated cells is the cause of breast cancer. You cannot “catch it” from someone else.

Myth 6:

BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes in your DNA mean you will definitely get breast cancer.

Women who have these harmful mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 are about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than women without the mutation, but not every woman who has the mutation will develop breast cancer. Taking hormonal therapy or taking a surgical approach through mastectomy are proactive ways to reduce risk.

Myth 7:

Breast cancer is caused by antiperspirants and deodorants.

The National Cancer Institute says there is no conclusive evidence linking the use of antiperspirants or deodorant and breast cancer.  When it comes to breast cancer, prevention is key. By spreading accurate information, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and identifying risk factors and unusual changes in our bodies, we can take a proactive approach to preventing breast cancer.

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