Knowledge is one of our best weapons in the fight against breast cancer. Unfortunately, a lot of bad information is still out there. To know your risks, it’s important to recognize myths.
Myth: Young women don’t get breast cancer.
Fact: Breast cancer usually happens after menopause, but younger women can still get it. More than 178,000 women develop the disease each year. That includes more than 11,000 women under age 40.
Myth: Breast cancer is caused by injury to the breast.
Fact: At times, after an injury, a woman may be found to have a tumor. That doesn’t mean the injury caused the tumor. There is no known link between cancer and injury. In rare cases, severe injuries might increase the risk of cancer. For example, scars from chemical burns might play a role in the development of skin cancer.
Myth: Antiperspirants cause breast cancer.
Fact: This urban legend has been around since the early days of the Internet. You may have read e-mails warning you about a connection between cancer and deodorants. There is no research to back these claims.
Myth: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you will develop the disease.
Fact: You may be at higher risk if you have a family history of breast cancer. However, many women who have a family history of breast cancer never develop it. Others are diagnosed with breast cancer, but have no family history. Other risk factors include age and having had breast cancer in the past. Talk to your doctor about your risks.
Myth: Only women get breast cancer.
Fact: Men can get breast cancer, too, but it’s rare. They account for less than 1 percent of all occurrences. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,000 American men get breast cancer each year. It’s most common in men ages 60 or older, but younger men can get it, too.
When in doubt, check it out
- Use reliable sources to check out cancer claims. Try government health agencies or other credible organizations. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society are good places to start. Stay away from anyone selling cancer “cures.”
- Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and ways to prevent disease. Ask when you should have mammograms and other important screenings.