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This year in America, more than 220,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In addition, 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die this year. If detected early, the five-year survival rate exceeds 95%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram.
MYTH: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
TRUTH: Eight out of ten lumps are benign, or not cancerous. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. Sometimes women stay away from medical care because they fear what they might find. Take charge of your own health by monthly self-exams, regular visits to the doctor, and regularly scheduled mammograms.
MYTH: Men do not get breast cancer.
TRUTH: This year 220,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die; however, 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While the percentage of men who are diagnosed with breast cancer is small, men should also give themselves monthly exams and note changes to their physicians.
MYTH: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.
TRUTH: An x-ray of the breast is called a mammogram. The x-ray and the pressure on the breast from the x-ray machine cannot cause cancer to spread. Do not let tales of other people's experiences keep you from having a mammogram. Base your decision on your physician's recommendation and ask the physician any questions you may have about the mammogram.
MYTH: Having a family history of breast cancer means you will get breast cancer.
TRUTH: 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. If you have a mother, daughter, sister, or grandmother who had breast cancer, you should have a mammogram five years before the age of their diagnosis.
MYTH: Breast cancer is a communicable disease.
TRUTH: You cannot catch breast cancer or transfer it to someone else's body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth in your own body.
MYTH: Knowing if you have changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene means you can prevent breast cancer.
TRUTH: Five percent to ten percent of women who have breast cancer are thought to carry the mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Alterations in these genes for men and women can predispose them to breast cancer. If you are a carrier of the genes, you should be monitored closely by your physician. Carriers of the genes have a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
All information courtesy of National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.®