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You don’t have to wait until October to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness. As a matter of fact, with breast cancer being one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity among women, it is imperative for everyone (women and men) to be educated and well-informed about this deadly type of cancer. For this reason, it is highly necessary for us to distinguish facts from fallacies to avoid misguided anxiety. Here are the 10 breast cancer myths compiled from several reliable health websites:
MYTH # 1: “Breast cancer is preventable.”
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. (Source: www.womenshealth.about.com)
MYTH # 2: “If I’m diagnosed with breast cancer, it means I’m going to die.”
Doctors are doing quite well at treating breast cancer, with 10-year survival rates currently at 85 percent to 90 percent. When caught early, up to 98 percent of women survive at least five years. Breast cancer that has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body, poses the greatest challenge, although women with metastatic breast cancer often live for years with their disease. (Source: www.cancer.med.umich.edu)
MYTH # 3: “My breast lump is painful, so it must not be cancer since cancerous lumps are supposed to be painless.”
Generally breast cancers are painless, but pain alone cannot rule out cancer. Some women also believe that a painless lump must not be cancer. Again, not true. There’s no correlation between whether the lump is painful and whether it’s cancerous. Any lump should be checked by a doctor.(Source: www.cancer.med.umich.edu)
MYTH # 4: “My mammogram was normal, so I don’t have to worry about breast cancer.”
While mammography does catch the vast majority of breast cancers, it is only one screening tool. (Source: www.cancer.med.umich.edu).
MYTH # 5: “Women under 40 don’t get breast cancer.”
Women of all ages can develop breast cancer. This is why women of all ages need to preform a monthly breast self exam. (Source: www.cancer.about.com)
MYTH # 6: “There’s never been a case of breast cancer in my family so I don’t need to worry about it happening to me.”
The truth is the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer don’t have a family history of this devastating cancer. (Source: www.womenshealth.about.com)
MYTH # 7: “Mammograms can spread breast cancer, or even cause it.”
The amount of radiation from mammograms is so low that there is no doubt mammograms are safe. (Source: www.cancer.about.com)
MYTH # 8: “Antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer.”
This is probably the most popular breast cancer myth of all. The rumor indicated that when you use deodorant or an antiperspirant and then cut yourself while shaving, a chemical could leak into the skin, causing breast cancer. (Source: www.cancer.about.com)
MYTH # 9: “A lump in the breast is breast cancer.”
A lump in the breast can indicate many things, not just cancer. More than 80% percent of lumps found are benign. (Source: www.cancer.about.com)
MYTH # 10: “Breast cancer is a woman’s disease.”
The truth of the matter is, men CAN get breast cancer. Though not as prevalent as female breast cancer, only one in every 1,000 breast cancer cases are with men. It is however almost always fatal because most men will not realize they have this disease until it is in the very late stages. Men over 40 should perform similar breast self exams as women do. Any lump discovered should never be ignored.