One of the most frustrating things about breast cancer is how much current information is just plain wrong. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is a myth that needs to be debunked, a rumor that has to be laid to rest. It can be very frustrating.
For a woman with a recent diagnosis or someone who is worried about her chances, these myths can be frustrating and scary at best. If you're diagnosed with the dreaded disease, it isn't a death sentence necessarily even though it may feel like it is.
With that in mind, here are the 10 biggest breast cancer myths to forget right now:
- Breast cancer is a death sentence: With so many new treatments and constant research, the old way of thinking about this disease is becoming obsolete. More and more women are surviving. Currently, the 10-year survival rate is about 85 to 90 percent.
- Everyone who is diagnosed has a family history: In fact only about 70 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have zero risk factors. That means even if no one in your family had it, YOU CAN STILL GET IT.
- Only old women get breast cancer: Actually breast cancer can come at any age. If your doctor tells you not to worry about a lump because you're too young, get a second opinion and find a new doctor. The fact is, 25 percent of women with breast cancer are younger than 50.
- Every breast lump is cancer: Do NOT be too afraid to get a lump checked out because you're worried it's cancerous and don't want to know. The fact is, it could be a cyst or a benign condition. It could also be pre-cancerous. No matter what it is, you need to be seen.
- I don't eat fat so I can't get cancer: Come on now. We all know better than this. If there were a quick solution like this, wouldn't we all do it?
- Mammograms hurt: OK, so this isn't the best way to get women to want to take care of themselves. Yes, they are uncomfortable, and yes, they are annoying, but saying they are painful does nothing except scare women off a test that could save their life.
- If cancer is exposed to air during surgery, it will spread: Huh? I had never heard this one before, but apparently some people believe this. It's not true. Cancer only spreads when people delay treatment because of silly fears and myths.
- Men can't get breast cancer: Though women get breast cancer at a much higher rate, men can get it, too.
- Under-wire bras cause cancer: This was a rumor in an email a few years ago, but it isn't true and not a concern.
- Women with small breasts have less of a chance of getting cancer: No matter what size your breasts, anyone can get cancer.
Do you believe any of these myths?
Image via audreyjm529/Flickr