There are so many myths surrounding breast cancer and breast cancer treatments, and it seems like good information from reputable sources is hard to come by, making it difficult to weed out the truth from fiction. Knowing your risk factors for breast cancer and discovering some truths about cancer and available treatments will set you on the right path to a healthier future. It’s important to discuss any of your questions with your doctor and make him aware if you have any of the risk factors so that early tests and monitoring can be started.
One of the biggest myths is that breast cancer only affects older women. In fact, women of any age, including girls as young as 10 can develop breast cancer. Early mammography testing and home breast exams can help catch breast cancer early at any age.
According to BreastCancer.org, nearly 80% of women who get breast cancer do not have any family history. It’s a commonly held misperception that only those women with a family history of breast cancer will get contract the disease. The truth is, even those without a history in the family are susceptible. It’s also untrue that only your mother’s family history matters. In reality, it takes both your mother’s and father’s history to fully understand your personal risk level for breast cancer.
Many women believe that taking birth control pills or using antiperspirant will cause breast cancer. To date, no evidence has been found to support the antiperspirant theory. Birth control pills today are much lower in estrogen and progesterone than they were in the past. While these hormones in higher doses are considered to be factors in breast cancer, birth control pills now are considered safer and not a direct cause of breast cancer.
One of the more serious risk factors one can have involves having a gene abnormality. If the specific gene for breast cancer is isolated from an individual, it is highly likely that they could develop breast cancer. Taking estrogen or combined hormone replacement therapy for several years can also increase your risk. Some of the risk factors are more about lifestyle than genetics or hormones. Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the chance that you will get breast cancer. Smoking or heavy alcohol use will also increase your risk level.
Many women feel that if they have many of the risk factors for breast cancer that they have been assigned a bad lot and there is no hope but to wait for the cancer to come. Once you discuss your risk factors with a doctor, they can assist you in finding ways to counteract those very same risk factors. Combination treatments that include diet and exercise changes, along with reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can help reduce the risks for developing breast cancer. Regular mammograms, self breast exams and keeping a positive attitude can make a difference in anyone’s risk level.