10 Myths and Facts About Breast Cancer

Myth Fact
My mom had breast cancer, so I know I will have it too. Only 5-10% of breast cancers are caused by a familial genetic mutation. Therefore, even if your mother had breast cancer, you are at only a slightly increased risk for breast cancer than an average woman. However, a strong family history where multiple blood relatives have breast or ovarian cancer, may indicate a higher degree of increased risk.
I am only 30 years old, so I am too young to get breast cancer. Women of any age can be diagnosed with breast cancer.  However, older women have a higher incidence than younger women.
I am a man, so I can’t get breast cancer. Although male breast cancer is rare, it does occur. In 2003, the overall incidence of breast cancer in men was 1.5 per 100,000, compared to 124 per 100,000 in women.
Mammograms give off too much radiation, so I am better off not getting one. Since a mammogram is an x-ray, it uses radiation to take a picture. The amount of radiation is very small compared to the benefits of detecting breast cancer early.
I feel a lump, so I know I have breast cancer. Eight out of 10 lumps are not cancer! If you discover a lump or any changes in your breasts go see your doctor right away
I already had a mammogram and it was clear, so I don’t need another one next year. Once is not enough! Starting at age 40, every woman should have a mammogram every year. If you go annually, you are more likely to catch it when it's small.
I heard on TV that I don’t need to do breast self exams (BSE), so I am not going to do them anymore. BSE allows you to become familiar with the look and feel of your own breasts. Performing BSE at the same time each month will help you to be alert to any major changes in your breast. You should communicate any changes to your doctor.
I eat right and exercise, so I won’t get breast cancer. There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, which is why mammograms are so important.
I am African-American, so I don’t need to be concerned about breast cancer. While an African-American woman is less likely to get breast cancer than a Caucasian woman, once an African-American woman gets breast cancer, she is more likely to die of it.  This may be because breast cancer is more advanced when it is diagnosed in African-American women.  Therefore, African-American women need to get their mammograms to catch breast cancer early.
I am breastfeeding my baby, so I don’t need to worry about getting breast cancer. Although breastfeeding does appear to protect against breast cancer, the effect is modest.  You should still perform BSE, have clinical breast exams preformed by a medical practitioner, and get annual mammograms after age 40.