“What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” — this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many misconceptions about breast cancer. Some of the things that people get wrong about breast cancer can actually prevent women from receiving the care that they need.Understanding breast cancer helps you stay ahead of the disease. There are misconceptions about breast cancer that can keep women from receiving the proper care that they need. Click To Tweet
Making the right lifestyle choices can prevent cancer.
While eating right, exercising everyday, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk for breast cancer, you can’t prevent the disease. All women should start receiving annual screening mammograms starting at age 40.
None of your family members have ever had breast cancer, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Most breast cancer cases are not hereditary. A family history of breast cancer does increase your risk for the disease, but only 5-10% of breast cancer cases are inherited.
All women can develop breast cancer regardless of family history.
You don’t have to worry about breast cancer until you are older.
The two biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Breast cancer risk increases with age, but that doesn’t mean that only older women develop breast cancer.
Roughly 4% of invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women under the age of 40 in 2017. While it’s rare for women in their 20s and 30s to develop breast cancer, it does happen.
A self-exam is an effective tool in detecting breast cancer.
Breast self-exams can help women detect breast cancer. They also help women identify changes in their breasts that could indicate other breast health problems.
You do not want to rely solely on self-exams to catch breast cancer, however.
Breast cancer does not always cause a lump. This is especially true in the early stages of breast cancer. Mammography detects breast cancer in its earliest stages when the disease is most treatable.
The average woman has a 1 in 8 chance for developing breast cancer.
Your risk might be higher.
Statistically speaking, one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This does not reflect your personal risk for breast cancer, however. Some women have a higher risk for developing the disease, while others have a lower risk.
There’s a difference in relative risk and absolute risk for breast cancer. Understanding your own personal risk for the disease is key in getting the care that you need. Taking a breast cancer risk quiz, to determine your personal risk for breast cancer, is a good place to start.
If you are at a higher risk than the average woman, you may need to follow a screening plan that is different from the average woman. Talk to the specialists at The Breast Center for a personalized cancer risk assessment and care plan that’s right for you.