Breast Exams

When it comes to breast cancer, there are more than a few myths out there, and we’d like to set the record straight.

Myth #1-Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.

This is completely false, and is the biggest misconception about breast cancer.  Finding a lump does not automatically mean you have breast cancer.  Much of the time the lump is benign; however, it is still crucial to get it checked out.

Myth #2- Having a family history of breast cancer means you will develop it.

Many diseases that run in the family increase your likelihood of developing them, and breast cancer is no exception, but this does not equate to an unavoidable battle with breast cancer.  In fact, most women who have breast cancer have no family history, and those who do should get a mammogram five years before the age of their family member’s diagnosis, or starting at age 35.

Myth #3- Mammograms can cause breast cancer to spread.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, and it’s one of the best technologies to detect breast cancer early on.  Maybe the fact that X-rays operate off of radiating waves, or maybe the pressure put on the breast during the mammogram leads some to believe that this can cause cancer to spread.  This is absolutely false!

Myth #4- Deodorant and antiperspirants can cause breast cancer.

This is another big and also very false myth.  Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have been unable to find any conclusive evidence that links the use of deodorant to the development of breast cancer.

Myth #5- Men cannot develop breast cancer.

While a man’s chest looks very different from a woman’s, men do have breasts.  This means that even though the percentage of men who develop and die from breast cancer is very small, it still happens.  Therefore, men should also perform Breast Self-Exams and talk to their doctor about any changes.

Myth #6- Performing a Breast Exam is something that only my doctor can do.

This myth may be the worst one!  Giving yourself a Breast Self-Exam is vital to early detection and increases the odds of beating breast cancer.

Just how important are monthly BSE’s (Breast Self-Exams)? At Alaska Regional Hospital we know that if breast cancer is detected early on the five-year survival rate is 90% or better.  This is a survival rate we’d like to see go up, but we can only do it with your help.

Without the knowledge of what to look for, you may end up rushing to the doctor for a completely unnecessary visit.  This is why performing a regular Breast Self Exam is critical.  A lot of women say they don’t have the time or they don’t know how.  Well, a BSE takes less than 10 minutes and its once a month, which will require a lot less time and money than going to the doctor.

Don’t get us wrong though, you’ve still got to go in and see your doctor about once a year (if you’re older than 35) for an annual mammogram.  In the meantime, learn how to complete a Breast Self-Exam and know your risk factors.

Visit our Web site to learn more about detecting and fighting cancer

Source: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer/myths.aspx

 

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