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breast cancer myths

Knowing the truth may be difficult to handle, but believing a myth may be devastating. Incorrect information can keep you from practicing healthy behaviors or seeking proper healthcare that could someday save your life. So join Advocate and help us spread the truth about breast cancer.

MYTH:

Breast cancer is preventable.

FACT:

There is no known prevention for breast cancer. Early detection followed by prompt treatment offers you the best successful chance against the disease.

 

MYTH:

You can catch cancer.

FACT:

You can't catch cancer! Cancer is not a communicable disease. It results from uncontrolled growth of cells in a person's own body. These changes cannot affect other people's cells.

 

MYTH:

If breast cancer doesn't run in your family, you won't get it.

FACT:

No, you still run the chance of getting breast cancer. About 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a relative with breast cancer. However, your risk is higher if you do have a family member (sister, aunt, mother, or grandmother) with breast cancer. Having one first-degree relative with breast cancer approximately doubles your risk of getting the disease. Remember, all women (and men) are at risk.

Reference: American Cancer Society

 

MYTH:

A monthly breast self-exam is the best way to diagnose breast cancer.

FACT:

Monthly breast self-exams are a good means of early detection especially for women in their teens, 20's and 30's, when annual mammograms are not yet recommended. However, there is no evidence that breast self-examination keeps you alive any longer. Therefore, getting clinical breast examinations and annual mammograms, as recommended, are crucial. Mammography coupled with clinical breast exams cuts the death rate by a third.

Reference: American Cancer Society

MYTH:

Mammograms are bad for you and give off dangerous radiation.

FACT:

It's just the opposite! Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer and getting an annual mammogram allows your doctor to find a lump when its smaller and better treatment options exist. A mammogram can detect a tumor as tiny as a pinhead-which is up to two years before you or your physician can feel it!

The amount of radiation during your mammogram is minimal. Two low-dose X-rays are taken of each breast during a 20-30 minute procedure. The benefits of a screening mammogram far out-weigh any associated risks. Make sure that the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) accredit the mammography facility you chose. All of Advocates' sites are accredited.

 

MYTH:

A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.

FACT:

Most women have lumps in their breast and most lumps are not cancerous. By doing a monthly breast self-exam, at the same time of the month, you will become familiar with your own breasts and how they feel. A lump that is soft, spongy, smooth in shape, and easily moveable is more likely benign. A lump that is hard and immobile may be cancerous. Your physician should examine your breast during a clinical breast examination, and ALL new and unusual lumps should be evaluated as soon as possible.

 

MYTH:

If you get cancer you're going to die.

FACT:

Wrong! Most women who are diagnosed with cancer do not die from the disease. Breast cancer is highly curable for women who are diagnosed early. The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 7.4 million Americans alive today have a history of cancer.

Reference: American Cancer Society

Unfortunately there are many more myths going around today about breast cancer. Advocate would like you to know the truth. The following Internet sites offer additional information on breast cancer myths... And more importantly they offer the facts.

National Alliances of Breast Cancer Organizations
www.nabco.org/resources/index.html

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
http://www.komen.org/


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