Although many advances have been made in breast cancer detection and treatment over the last quarter century, the fact is we still don't know much about the causes of breast cancer or it's cure. This leaves many of us misunderstanding the facts about breast cancer. It's time we dispel those myths and replace them with what we know is true about breast cancer.
- 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 breast cancer.
See: 5 Reasons Why Young Women Should Perform Monthly Breast Self Exam
- Myth: There's never been a case of breast cancer in my family so I don't need to worry about it happening to me.
Fact: The truth is the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer don't have a family history of this devastating cancer. However, if your mother, sister, or grandmother ever had breast cancer your risk is significantly increased.
See: Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
- Myth: I don't have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene so I'm sure breast cancer is not in my future.
Fact: Don't fool yourself! Not having a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene does not mean you won't get breast cancer. Actually, the truth is that almost all women (90 to 95 percent) diagnosed with breast cancer have neither a family history nor mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, according to the American Cancer Society.
See: Understanding the BRCA Gene and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
- Myth: The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer had more than one risk factor prior to diagnosis.
Fact: All women are at risk for developing breast cancer whether they have known risk factors. In fact, the majority of breast cancer patients had no known risk factors, other than being female, for this frightening disease.
See: Understanding Breast Cancer Risk
- Myth: Breast cancer is preventable.
Fact: Although a drug classified as an antiestrogen called, Tamoxifen may decrease breast cancer risk in certain women, the cause of breast cancer remains unknown and is not completely preventable. The real key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and treatment.
See: FDA Approves Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer Prevention in High Risk Women
- Myth: Having yearly mammograms will expose me to too much radiation and cancer will occur as a result.
Fact: According to the American College of Radiology, the benefits of annual mammograms far outweigh any risks that may occur because of the minute amount of radiation used during this screening and diagnostic procedure.
See: Mammography Screening
- Myth: I'm not going to breastfeed because breastfeeding would increase my risk of getting breast cancer.
Fact: Just the opposite is true. Breastfeeding may actually decrease the risk of perimenopausal breast cancer.
See: Breastfeeding Benefits Mom and Baby
Source: Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation