6 Common Breast Cancer Myths, Busted

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Wrong ideas about how cancer starts and spreads can lead to unnecessary worry about your health. Here, we separate fact from fiction.

Myth #1: Men do not get breast cancer.
Truth: More than 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Men are also more likely to die from the disease than women, because often the disease goes undiagnosed for longer.

Myth #2: Induced abortions increase your breast cancer risk.
Truth: Several studies have provided very strong data showing that neither induced abortions nor spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) have an overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.

Myth #3: You don’t need to get checked after menopause.
Truth: Getting older is not a reason to skip regular breast health checks. In fact, your risk of developing breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women ages 55 and older.

Myth #4: Having the BRCA gene means you’ll definitely get breast cancer.
Truth: Having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation means you have a higher risk of breast cancer than someone without the gene, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop cancer. If you have the gene, your healthcare provider might recommend more frequent screenings.

Myth #5: There’s nothing you can do to lower your breast cancer risk.
Truth: Lifestyle goes a long way toward reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. Exercise more and eat healthier, especially if you’re overweight or obese. Limit or eliminate alcohol and quit smoking.

Myth #6:  If breast cancer runs in your family, you’ll probably get it.
Truth: Often, cancer runs in families because they have similar lifestyle habits–habits you can control and change to lower your risk of breast cancer. This includes staying at a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity and not smoking.

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