1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. While we can’t prevent cancer, we can be proactive. Performing a monthly self-exam can lead to early detection and that can save your life. Johns Hopkins Medical Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” Breast self-exams help you become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your health care professional if there are any changes. In addition to self-exams it’s important to keep up with your scheduled wellness exam and mammography. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. clears up some myths surrounding breast cancer.
Myth: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer
Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, see your physician for a clinical breast exam.
Myth: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you’re likely to develop breast cancer, too
While women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.
Myth: If the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 is detected in your DNA, you will definitely develop breast cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, regarding families who are known to carry BRCA1 or BRCA2, “not every woman in such families carries a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, and not every cancer in such families is linked to a harmful mutation in one of these genes. Furthermore, not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer.”
To learn more, visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org.