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From October - 31 Breast Cancer Facts and Myths


“31 Breast Cancer Facts and Myths” – in case you missed these; we posted these on our Facebook page each day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

1. FACT - Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.

2. FACT: The incidence of breast cancer is highest in more developed countries and lowest in less developed countries.

3. MYTH: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk. Actually, up to 80% of women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer.

4. FACT: Breast pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, rather it is usually a result of hormonal or cyclical changes.

5. MYTH: Breast implants increase the risk for breast cancer. There is no scientific evidence to show that either silicone or saline implants increase breast cancer risk.

6. MYTH: For family history of breast cancer, only the mother's side is important. The father's family history of breast cancer is equally important.

7. FACT: The first recorded mastectomy was performed in A.D. 548 on Theodora, Empress of Byzantine.

8. FACT: Many studies have linked obesity to increased breast cancer risk.

9. FACT: Dr. Jerry Nielson, an ER physician who was stationed in Antarctica at the South Pole station in 1998, diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer, as she was not able to leave due to severe winter storms at the time.

10. MYTH: Small-breasted women are less likely to get a breast cancer. False, there is no connection between breast size and the chance of having breast cancer.

11. FACT: For unknown reasons, breast cancer is slightly more common in the left breast.

12. MYTH: Deodorants/Antiperspirants can cause breast cancers. False, there is no scientific evidence showing any connection between deodorants/antiperspirants and breast cancers.

13. FACT: White women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, but African American women have a higher mortality rate.

14. MYTH: Caffeine increases breast cancer risk. False, no evidence to support effect of caffeine on breast cancer risk

15.FACT: The oldest written description of cancer dates back to 3000 BC in Egypt, on papyrus, which describes 8 tumors of the breast removed with a tool called a fire drill.

16. FACT: The United States has the most cases of breast cancer in the world.

17. FACT: The more pregnancies a woman has had, the less her breast cancer risk tends to be.

18. MYTH: You will lose your hair from radiation therapy to the breast. False, hair loss (alopecia) is a side effect of chemotherapy, not radiation therapy.

19. FACT: The growth rate of breast cancer from a single cancer cell is generally very slow. By the time it becomes large enough to feel, the cancer has been in the breast for two to five years

20.MYTH: Breast Cancer is the most common cause of cancer death for women in the US. False. The number one cancer killer is lung cancer. (for both men and women)

21. MYTH: Thermal Breast Imaging is just as good as mammography for detecting breast cancer. False, there is no evidence that breast thermography is a substitute for mammography for detection of early breast cancers

22. FACT: Some breast cancers are fueled by hormones in the body, such as estrogen and progesterone.

23. MYTH: Deodorants/antiperspirants can cause breast cancers. False, studies have shown no definitive link to breast cancer risk.

24. FACT: Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found during pregnancy. (seen in about 1 in every 3,000 pregnancies)

25. MYTH: Breast cancer can spread along the needle track when a needle biopsy is performed. False, no conclusive evidence that breast cancer cells can be spread along the needle track site within the breast

26. FACT: Breast cancer is more common in the upper outer regions of the breast, as there is proportionately more breast tissue in these areas, both left and right breasts.

27. FACT: It is very rare for breast cancer to spread from one breast to the other.

28. FACT: Many decades ago, when women were diagnosed with a breast cancer, no matter the size, they underwent a procedure called a "Radical Mastectomy"

29. FACT: Increased alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk for breast cancer.

30. FACT: The first breast cancer ribbons were actually peach in color.

31. The #1 Myth on my list: (I hear this one almost weekly) - When going to surgery for a cancer, and a surgical incision is made on the skin, this will release the cancer throughout the rest of the body when the cancer "hits the air". Not true at all.

Christopher A. Menendez, M.D. F.A.C.S.

Breast Surgical Oncologist

Northwest Arkansas Breast Care Specialists

701 S Horsebarn Rd, Suite 100

Rogers, AR 72758

Phone: (479) 876-8028

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