Dispel the Myths and Learn the Facts about Breast Cancer

Dispel the Myths and Learn the Facts about Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October. What does that mean for women? It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s time to get the facts about breast cancer and dispel common myths.

Through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, health experts are asking women to become more knowledgeable about the disease approximately 300,000 women will be diagnosed with this year. Health experts are asking women to conduct monthly pre-screening exams, get needed mammograms, dispel the myths and learn the facts about breast cancer.

The Big C

What should you know about breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor made up of a group of cancer cells that may grow and invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.

The American Cancer Society compiled the following list to provide insight into the disease.

  • Approximately 39,840 women will die from breast cancer this year.
  • After increasing for more than 2 decades, female breast cancer incidence rates decreased by about 2% per year from 1999 to 2006. Scientists speculate that the decrease may be the result of reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after the results of the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002, which linked HRT to increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
  • Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50.
  • At this time there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Breast Cancer Awareness - Fight Like a Girl!

 

Breast Cancer Development

Different factors can play into the development of breast cancer, such a genetics, gender, ethnicity and age. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests that lifestyle related factors play a role in the development of breast cancer, including the following:

 

  • Never giving birth
  • Not breastfeeding
  • Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy
  • Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day)
  • Not getting regular exercise
  • Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause)

You should be aware that presenting certain risk factors does not mean you will develop breast cancer; however, these risk factors do increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer.

Fact vs. Fiction

Many of the common beliefs about breast cancer have proven to be false. Which ones? We’ve included a short list of the most daring and diligent misnomers about breast cancer below, as compiled by the The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

-Myth 

Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer

-Reality

Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.  But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. It is very important that you see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may order breast imaging to help determine if this lump is of concern or not.

-Myth

Men do not get breast cancer.

-Reality

Each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.

-Myth

If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.

-Reality

While women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.

Do not believe everything you hear about breast cancer. Educating yourself about the disease is the best way to combat breast cancer. For more breast cancer myths, visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths.

Risk Factors 

Want to learn more about the common indicators and risk factors associated with breast cancer? Read this article by Medical News Today http://bit.ly/9okFsb.

Get Involved!

Want to get involved in the fight against breast cancer?

There are many ways for you to help.

  • Donate
  • Volunteer
  • Fundraise

Visit the following websites to learn about ways to get involved and make a difference:

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-support

http://www.cancer.org/involved/index

http://ww5.komen.org/UnderstandingBreastCancer/SurvivorsGettingInvolved.aspx

http://bit.ly/STfViA

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