TOWSON, Md. - There's a lot of information out there about breast cancer. But not all of it is true. Here are the 5 biggest myths surrounding the disease.
The words breast cancer can often have you fearing the worst. But such a diagnosis doesn't automatically mean a death sentence.
Dr. Dawn Johnson Leonard, Medical Director of the Breast Cancer Center at Northwest Hospital says, "Many women think that their diagnosis means that they are going to die. The fact is that in this country, breast cancer survivors out number any other type of cancer survivors for any other type of cancer."
Thanks to advances in early detection, many women are going on to live healthy lives.
The second myth about breast cancer is that it only affects older women. The fact is, it can strike at any age. Dr. Johnson Leonard says, "That practice that was occurring where a young woman with a breast lump was told oh it's nothing don't worry about it, well every lump and every abnormality should be investigated regardless of age."
The third myth deals with family history. Just because breast cancer doesn't run in your family, it doesn't mean you're out of the woods. Dr. Johnson Leonard says, "80% to 90% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history… so as long as you're female, as long as you have breasts, you do carry some risks of breast cancer."
Fourth, when looking at your family history, it's not just your mother's side that counts. Dr. Johnson Leonard says, "The fact is we get half of our genes from each of our parents so we do need to be aware of family history on both mom's side and dad's side."
The fifth myth is that a lot of women think a lump in their breast means cancer. Dr. Johnson Leonard says, "85% of all abnormal findings are benign. So if a woman does have an abnormal mammogram... Or feels a lump on her breast exam, don't panic. Odds are in your favor that it's going to be a benign finding."
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