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5 Surprising Breast Cancer Facts

November 13, 20232 min read

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Breast cancer is a topic that affects millions of women and their loved ones worldwide. It's a complex disease and it's easy to carry misunderstandings in spite of the rich body of information. Let's look at some common myths.

Myth 1: Only Women Get Breast Cancer

Fact: Men have breast tissue, and though the risk is significantly lower, they can develop breast cancer. For every 100 to 200 cases of breast cancer in women, one man will be diagnosed with breast cancer. There are an estimated 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed annually in men in the United States. The key takeaway here is that even men should take action if something changes on their chest.

Woman with breast cancer

Myth 2: A Lump in the Breast Always Means Cancer

Fact: . Most breast lumps and even breast biopsies are benign and not associated with cancer. There are many benign conditions that make for lumpy breasts, including fibrocystic changes, cysts, and fibroadenomas. If you discover a lump in your breast, see your doctor, but relax and know it is likely not cancer. 

Myth 3: You Can Prevent Breast Cancer

Fact: There is a long list of risk factors associated with breast cancer that you can control, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and limiting alcohol consumption. By all means take these healthy steps to boost health in general. The studies showing these associations are population studies and do not determine whether a particular individual will develop breast cancer. Most breast cancer is diagnosed in women with no identifiable risk factors. The key takeaway here is to stay vigilant.

Breast cancer patient with her friend.

Myth 4: Breast Cancer Is a Death Sentence

Fact: Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are treated and go on to live many additional years free from disease. Early detection is important. Medical science is advancing at a rapid pace and even when the cancer has spread outside the breast, many women now live for years with active treatment.

Myth 5: If You Have No Family History of Breast Cancer, You are Safe

Fact: Family history is one of many risk factor for breast cancer, but similar to myth #3, most individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Ladies with a family history should be more vigilant to get mammograms and breast checks. But lack of family history does not confer protection from breast cancer.

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