- Only women get breast cancer.
- Only Women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
- Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
- A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.
- Breast Cancer is primarily a genetic disease.
- Only older women develop breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer is contagious.
- Women with small breast can not develop breast cancer.
- Nipple discharge is a sign of breast cancer.
- If your breast are hit or injured, you will develop breast cancer.
- A mammogram prevents breast cancer.
- A mammogram causes breast cancer.
- Mammography is the only way to find breast cancer and is 100% accurate.
- Mammography finds breast cancer when it is at a curable stage.
- Breast cancer is always found in the form of a lump.
Q – Only women get breast cancer.
A – According to the American Cancer Society 2010 reports for men in the United States:
- About 1,910 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men
- About 440 men will die from breast cancer
Q – Only Women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
A – While a family history of breast cancer can mean that a woman is at higher than average risk of developing breast cancer, more than 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease.
Q Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
A 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. However, 8 out of 10 breast lumps are benign, or not cancerous. Sometimes women stay away from medical care because they fear what they might find. Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication with your doctor, and scheduling regular mammograms.
From the National Breast Cancer Foundation
Q – A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.
A – A mammogram, or X-ray of the breast, is one of the best tools available for the early detection of breast cancer. It CANNOT cause cancer to spread, nor can the pressure put on the breast from the mammogram. Do not let tales of other people’s experiences keep you from having a mammogram. Base your decision on your physician’s recommendation and be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor. From the National Breast Cancer Foundation
A – Only a very small percentage (5%-10%) of breast cancer cases are thought to be due to abnormal genes. Researchers have identified two genes on chromosome 17, BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2), that may increase breast cancer risk (although more genes that affect breast cancer risk may also exist). However, only 5% of breast cancer cases are related to mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Furthermore, a mutated BRCA gene is only one of the risk factors for developing breast cancer. Other high risk factors include: age, family history, high fat diets, obesity, previous breast biopsy showing benign (non-cancerous) conditions, menstruation beginning at an early age, menstruation continuing past age 50, not having children, having a first child after age 30, etc. Also, up to 80% of women who get breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors. From the Imaginis Website.
Q – Only older women develop breast cancer.
A – The risk of having a breast cancer diagnosis increases with age, however, younger women also develop breast cancer. To help detect breast cancer early, women forty years of age and older should get regular mammograms in addition to a yearly clinical breast examinations (CBE) and monthly breast self-examinations (BSE). Women between the ages of 20 and 40 should also practice monthly breast self-exams and receive physician-performed clinical breast exams at least every three years.
Q – Breast Cancer is contagious.
A – Breast cancer is not contagious, but is abnormal increase in breast cells, resulting in a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the breast tissue. Generally accepted risk factors of breast cancer include:
- Family history
- Previous breast biopsy showing benign conditions
- Menstruation beginning at an early age
- Menstruation continuing past age 50
- Not having children
- Having a first child after age 30
- High fat diets
- Mutations of the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2
Q – Women with small breast can not develop breast cancer.
A – The amount of breast tissue a woman has does not affect her risk of developing breast cancer. Breast size is certainly not a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
Q – Nipple discharge is a sign of breast cancer.
A – Most nipple discharges do not indicate a cancerous condition. Up to 20% of women may experience spontaneous milky, opalescent, or clear fluid nipple discharge. Up to 60% of women experience nipple discharge during breast self-examination. Usually, if the discharge is clear, milky, yellow, or green, it does not indicate cancer. Bloody or watery nipple discharge is considered abnormal; however, only 10% of abnormal discharges are cancerous. Most bloody discharges are due to non-cancerous papillomas. Women should report any worrisome nipple discharges to their physician for clinical examination.
- Nipple discharge may be a concern if it is:
- bloody or watery (serous) with a red, pink, or brown color
- sticky and clear in color or brown to black in color (opalescent)
- appears spontaneously without squeezing the nipple
- on one side only (unilateral)
- a fluid other than breast milk
Q – If your breast are hit or injured, you will develop breast cancer.
A – Injury or trauma to the breast does not cause breast cancer. However, the breast may become bruised or develop a benign (non-cancerous) lump as the result of an injury. Fat necrosis is a rare benign breast condition that occurs when fatty breast tissue swells or becomes tender. When the body attempts to repair the damaged breast tissue, the affected area may sometimes be replaced with firm scar tissue. Fat necrosis may be mistaken as cancer on mammogram; however symptoms of fat necrosis usually subside within a month.
Q – A mammogram prevents breast cancer.
A – Mammograms are not a prevention for breast cancer, it is a screening tool for breast cancer.
Q – A mammogram causes breast cancer.
A – No, the mammography system uses low levels of radiation and is safe. The MQSA (Mammography Quality Standards Act) was created by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and passed by Congress to mandate rigorous guidelines for x-ray safety during mammography. The MQSA guidelines assure that mammography systems are safe and use the lowest dose of radiation possible. Patients should make sure they are being imaged at an ACR accredited facility using modern mammography systems.
Q – Mammography is the only way to find breast cancer and is 100% accurate.
A – Having a mammogram is one of the best ways to find breast cancer, it is not 100%. Overall, mammography is about 80% effective at detecting breast cancer, when all age groups are considered. However, individual characteristics, such as age, breast density, menopausal status, etc. may affect the accuracy of mammography. For example, sometimes an irregularity goes undetected because surrounding breast tissue is the same density as the irregular tissue. If a patient has a lump or other change and the mammogram is “negative” (interpreted as not suspicious or cancerous), the patient should still pursue that finding with her physician.
Q – Mammography finds breast cancer when it is at a curable stage.
A – While annual screening mammograms will detect the vast majority of breast cancers, some cancers are extremely aggressive and can metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body before they are detected by mammogram. In general, breast cancer has a slow rate of growth. It may take six to eight years for a breast cancer developing from one cell to grow to the size of one centimeter. This long growth period allows ample time for aggressive cancers to spread into blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and beyond the breast. Again, to help detect breast cancer early, when the chances for survival are the greatest, women 20 years of age and older should perform breast self-examination (BSE) every month. Women 20-39 should have a clinical breast examination (CBE) at least every three years in addition to performing monthly BSE. Women 40 and older should practice monthly BSE, have CBE performed by a health care professional every year, and have mammograms every year to two years.
Q – Breast cancer is always found in the form of a lump.
A – While a breast lump can certainly be a sign of breast cancer (as well as a number of non-cancerous conditions), not all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will have a noticeable lump. Therefore, women should check for the following warning signs while performing monthly breast self-exams:
- Any new lump or hard knot found in the breast or armpit
- Any lump or thickening that does not shrink or lessen after your next period
- Any change in the size, shape or symmetry of your breast
- A thickening or swelling of the breast
- Any dimpling, puckering or indention in the breast
- Dimpling, skin irritation or other change in the breast skin or nipple
- Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (fluid coming from your nipples other than breast milk), particularly if the discharge is bloody, clear and sticky, dark or occurs without squeezing your nipple
- Nipple tenderness or pain
- Nipple retraction: turning or drawing inward or pointing in a new direction
- Any breast change may be cause for concern