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Myths vs. facts on breast cancer

shutterstock_64976767There is a lot of information out there about breast cancer, but not all of it is accurate. Here are some common myths and facts surrounding breast cancer.

Myth #1:  Breast cancer is the number one enemy of women.

Fact:  The number one enemy is NOT breast cancer but the late detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer detected early can usually be successfully treated.

Myth #2:  Finding a lump is the only way to detect breast cancer.

Fact:  Some cancers do not form a lump. A visual exam of the breast can often show symptoms that need to be reported to a health care provider.

Symptoms include:

  • Discharge from one breast
  • Inversion of a normally everted nipple
  • Dimpling – a pulling in of the breast skin
  • Bulge – area of raised tissue on one breast
  • Itching, irritated or scaly nipple with or without discharge
  • Rapid increase in pain with redness or rash
  • Rapid increase in size of one breast
  • Changes in the shape of the breast
  • Changes in the vein pattern of one breast

Myth # 3:  No history of breast cancer in your family means you never have to worry about it.

Fact:  All women are at risk for breast cancer. 76% of women diagnosed with breast cancer last year did not have a family history of breast cancer. The biggest risk of getting breast cancer is being female.

Myth # 4:  A mother’s family history of breast cancer is the only important history.

Fact:  A father’s family history is equally important and can impact breast cancer risk. Hereditary breast cancer is caused by inheriting a mutated (damaged) gene from either your father or mother.

Myth # 5:  “Young women don’t get breast cancer.”

Fact:  Breast cancer can occur at any age. Risk increases with age. 23% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 50.


About Darci Grota, RN, BSN

Darci Grota is a breast cancer patient navigator at St. Elizabeth Hospital. She helps breast cancer patients throughout the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process, acting as a liaison between patients and the medical professionals they encounter.

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