Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will pass away from this disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Similar to hospice, breast cancer has many myths associated with it but it’s important to know the facts.
Finding a lump in your breast doesn’t always mean its cancer, however, a lump found should never be ignored. Schedule a clinical exam to be sure it is not cancerous. You should give yourself a breast exam regularly to stay on top of any changes you may notice. Another common myth is that only women can get breast cancer, this is false. The number is on a smaller scale, but an estimated 2100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer too each year. For men, this is usually distinguished as a hard lump under the nipple or areola-men should do self- breast exams as well.
We see a lot about those who are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer and that having a family history of it is a factor. While this is true, most women who develop breast cancer have no family history of it at all. Stats show us only about ten percent diagnosed actually do have a family history of the disease. Breast cancer is not contagious. This disease is caused by uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that spread throughout other tissues in the breast. It cannot be transferred to another person’s body.
A mammogram or x-ray is still the best way for early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread, which some believe. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation and the risk of harm from this radiation exposure is very low, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women starting at age 40. Base your decision on your doctor’s recommendations, be sure to discuss any remaining questions or concerns you may have with your physician.
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