Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. There are about 264,000 new cases diagnosed in women in the U.S. each year.
Making healthy life choices overall is one of the best ways to avoid breast cancer. Considering breast cancer is also easier to treat when it is detected early, one of the worst things women can do is think they’re not vulnerable and avoid screenings.
In fact, women can be their own worst enemy when it comes to staying healthy. Packed schedules often leave little time for self-care. Women often have kids, families, work and other obligations that they may prioritize before annual screenings.
However, the most common symptom of breast cancer is no symptoms — breast cancer is often discovered early through mammograms before a woman notices any sort of a change.
Most women who have symptoms notice changes in their bodies, such as pain, swelling, lumps or asymmetry. If something seems abnormal, even if you doubt it’s important, physicians want to hear about it.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while it’s important to remain vigilant year-round, it’s a good time to highlight important facts about breast cancer.
In Episode 53, Dr. G and his guest, Christine Gresik, MD, FACS, board-certified surgical breast oncologist, discuss screenings, symptoms, treatment options and other essential information women should know about breast cancer.
Myths vs. Facts
“Most breast cancers run in families.” – Myth
80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are the first women in their families to have breast cancer. Most breast cancers are not genetically related.
“There is nothing you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.” – Myth
Healthy BMI (body mass index) lowers breast cancer risk.
“Bras cause breast cancer.” – Myth
A study of the use of underwires and how they may prohibit lymphatic flow found that the idea that bras cause cancer is unfounded.
“Drinking milk (or eating dairy) causes breast cancer.” – Myth
Any dairy in moderation is safe.
“Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.” – Myth
75 percent of lesions we find in a breast are benign. Always ask your doctor to determine whether a lump is benign.
“A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.” – Myth
It takes years for breast cancer cells to form within the breast. Simple compression isn’t going to cause cells to displace or grow anywhere.
“Breast cancer is contagious.” – Myth
You can’t catch breast cancer or give it to someone else.
“If the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 is detected in your DNA, then you will develop breast cancer.” – Myth
You have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but a certain percentage of those women will not.
Listener healthy OH-YEAH!
“I’ve gone up and down my stairs all day. Felt like I ran a mile.” – A.K.