MYTH: Family history of breast cancer means you will develop breast cancer too.
TRUTH: According to the Cancer Center of University of Michigan, 80 to 85 percent of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. That being said, it is important to get a yearly mammogram, regardless of family history.
MYTH: There is nothing you can do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
TRUTH: All women can take steps to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, including regular screenings and a healthy diet. See the EARLY DETECTION PLAN below.
MYTH: If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you’re going to die.
TRUTH: When caught early, up to 98 percent of women survive at least five years, according to the University of Michigan Cancer Center. Advancements in treatments have increased the survival rate to 10 years for 85 to 90 percent of women.
MYTH: A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
TRUTH: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. However, it is important not to ignore any persistent lumps or changes in breast tissue. Sometimes women stay away from medical care because they fear what they might find. Take charge of your health and schedule regular clinical exams.
MYTH: Only women can get breast cancer.
TRUTH: Because men also have breast tissue, they are at risk for developing breast cancer. While breast cancer is rare in men, it does happen and men should also give themselves regular breast self-exams and note any changes to their physicians.
MYTH: Mammography will detect lumps so I don’t need to do self-exams.
TRUTH: Mammography will detect, on average, about 80 to 90 percent of breast cancers in women without symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society. Women should perform routine breast self-exams in addition to getting annual clinical breast exams. Most experts agree that mammography saves lives and recommend annual mammography starting at age 40.
MYTH: Breast cancer only occurs in older women.
TRUTH: Breast cancer does not discriminate based on age. While the disease is more common in post-menopausal women, 25 percent of women with breast cancer are younger than 50, according to University of Michigan Cancer Center.
EARLY DETECTION PLAN:
Even with all of the information available regarding breast cancer, there are still misconceptions and fears among women. The national Breast Cancer Foundation suggests having an early detection plan which includes: All ages: Maintaining a healthy weight, follow a low-fat diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reduce alcohol consumption. Beginning at age 20: Performing breast self exams and looking for any signs of change. Age 20-30: Schedule clinical breast exams every three years. Age 40: Having a baseline mammogram and annual clinical breast exam. Age 40-49: have a mammogram every one to two years depending on previous findings. Ages 50 and older: Having a mammogram every year.