Myths About Breast Cancer

What you don’t know CAN hurt you. Arm yourself with the facts. Here are common myths and misconceptions about breast cancer:

Myth: Only women get breast cancer.
Fact: Though far less common than in women, it is possible for men to develop breast cancer. In a study, it is estimated that 1,400 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 400 will die.

Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
Fact: While a family history of breast cancer can mean that a woman is at higher than average risk of developing breast cancer, about 80% of women who get breast cancer have no known family history of the disease.

Myth: Breast cancer only affects older women.
Fact: While it’s true that the risk of breast cancer increases as a woman grow older, breast cancer can occur at any age. As a woman’s age increases, her risk of getting breast cancer also increases.

Myth: Breast cancer is a communicable disease (spreads by air, drinking from the same cup as someone else, etc.).
Fact: Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth in your own body. Changes in one woman’s cells cannot affect the cells of another woman.

Myth: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: In general, 80% of lumps are caused by benign (non-cancerous) changes in the breast. It is still important for women to report any breast abnormality to their physician. Early detection always is the best form of prevention.

Myth: Using antiperspirants causes breast cancer.
Fact: There is no evidence that the active ingredient in antiperspirants or reducing perspiration from the underarm area influences breast cancer risk.

Myth: Coffee increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
Fact: Coffee does not cause breast cancer, and in several studies with rats, coffee has been shown to actually prevent cancer.

Myth: Birth control pills cause breast cancer.
Fact: Though oral contraceptives do contain small amounts of estrogen and progesterone (hormones often linked with increased risk over time), the amount of these hormones is too small to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer

Myth: Mammography is 100% accurate in early breast cancer detection.
Fact: Mammography is the most accurate screening tool for best cancer. It is estimated that mammography detects 85% to 90% of all breast cancers. While the vast majority of abnormalities are detected by mammography, some are simply not detectable.