Breast Cancer Facts

1. Healthy breasts can feel lumpy.
True ~ Lumpiness is not a cause for concern as long as it is normal for your breasts.

2. Changes to the outside of a breast may indicate a problem within it.
True ~ Dimpling, puckering, flattening, indentations and other changes seen on the
outside of the breast may indicate a problem within the breast.

3. If I find a lump in my breast and the mammogram results are negative, it’s nothing to worry about.
False ~ A small percentage of breast cancers are not detected by mammography. Any lump in your breast requires further evaluation.

4. As you age, your risk of developing breast cancer increases.
True ~ Most breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50, and the risk is
especially high in women over 60.

5. All breast lumps are cancerous.
False ~ More than 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous.

6. Breast cancer is most common in women with a family history of breast cancer.
False ~ Although a family history of breast cancer puts you at higher risk, 80%
of the women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

7. The composition of a healthy breast changes after menopause.
True ~ Following menopause, the amount of fibrous tissue in a women’s breasts
decreases and the amount of fatty tissue increases.

8. Women without breast cancer symptoms don’t need mammograms.
False ~ In its earliest and most treatable stage, breast cancer often causes no symptoms. It’s critical that women, including those with no symptoms, follow through with mammograms and clinical breast exams on schedule.

9. Women with small breasts are less likely to have breast cancer.
False ~ Breast size has nothing to do with a woman’s vulnerability to cancer or other breast disease.

10. Breast self-exams can serve a helpful function.
True ~ Although the American Cancer Society recommends BSE as an option for women starting in their 20s, many experts encourage doing BSE on a monthly basis. In this way, women can learn how their breasts normally look and feel so any changes can be quickly detected and reported.

11. A breast injury can cause breast cancer.
False ~ There is no evidence that an injury to the breast will cause cancer. An injury may, however, result in certain conditions that can appear as lumps. An injury can also make you more aware of your breasts and more likely to notice any unusual changes.

12. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances for successful treatment.
True ~ Your best plan for early detection of breast cancer is mammograms and clinical breast exams on schedule and making an informed choice about whether or how often to do breast self-exam to increase awareness of the normal “landscape” of your breasts.

13. Alcohol use is found to increase your chances of getting breast cancer.
True ~ Research has shown that drinking alcohol slightly increases the risk of a woman developing breast cancer.

14. Men cannot get breast cancer.
False ~ 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. Each year, there are about 300 cases of male breast cancer in the UK.

15. Can you have breast cancer if you are 17?
Yes ~ however it would be extremely rare. Most breast cancers occur in women over 50 and it is extremely rare in women under 40, but the youngest ever breast cancer patient was 10.

16. Can breast feeding affect your chances of getting breast cancer?
Yes ~ Breast feeding lower breast cancer risk by 4.3% for every year of feeding. There is also a 7% reduction in risk of breast cancer for each child born.

17. Can itching be a sign of breast cancer?
Yes ~ Itching can be a sign of breast cancer, but this is very rare. There is a type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer that over the area of skin over the tumor can become red, inflamed, painful and itchy.

18. Can breast enlargement cause cancer?
Breast enlargement (augmentation) is usually done by putting in silicone implants. There is no evidence that silicone increases your risk of breast cancer.

19. Is there a link between early onset of menstruation (menarche) and breast cancer?
Yes ~ Early onset of menstruation - before age 12.

20. What are some early signs of breast cancer?

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • A change in the color or feel of the skin (dimpled, puckered or scaling) of the breast, areola, or nipple.

21. When do I need a mammogram?

  • Your health care provider will recommend when you should start your regular yearly mammograms.
  • Mammograms can often detect breast cancer before it can be felt or before it produces symptoms.
  • When detected early, breast cancer can be treated successfully.

For more information, make an appointment with your health care provider

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