In a sea of information, recommendations and the occasional uninformed guess, knowing the facts about breast health can help keep you afloat. Don’t let misinformation make waves. Use the truth about breast health to design a breast wellness plan that stays true to your needs. For example, though breast cancer is less common in men, it is more likely to be fatal. Men should perform breast self-exams regularly and report any changes to their doctors.
Myth: If you find a lump, it’s cancer.
Fact: Not all lumps are cancerous. Many things can cause lumps or lumpiness in breast tissue, including cysts and fibrosis.
Myth: If no one in your family has had breast cancer, you won’t either.
Fact: According to the nonprofit Breastcancer.org, 85 percent of women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
Myth: If your first mammogram comes back clear, there is no need to go back for another.
Fact: The American Cancer Society recommends that women of average risk begin having mammograms at age 45 and continue annually until turning 54. Starting at age 55, women can begin having mammograms every other year. Mammograms create a point of reference doctors use to help determine whether or not your breasts have changed. This makes it easier to identify cancer.
Myth: People with larger breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer.
Fact: Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate based on size. Women with all sizes of breasts should have regular mammograms.
Myth: Breast implants increase your breast cancer risk.
Fact: While breast implants have no effect on whether or not you will get breast cancer, it’s important to have your breasts imaged by a team with experience dealing with implants.
Mammograms are the go-to screening for breast cancer. During these exams, machines capture images of breast tissue using low doses of X-ray radiation. Two or more images are collected, and doctors examine those pictures for abnormalities or changes that may be signs of breast cancer.
This technology is also used for diagnostic mammography. Diagnostic mammograms are used to help get more information about lumps or other breast problems, such as nipple discharge.
Radiologists review images during diagnostic mammograms so they can take more photographs as needed. Then this information is used to guide the next steps of care, whether that is coming back for more tests or returning to a normal screening schedule.