Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #20 - Myths about Breast Cancer

Thirteen common myths and fears about breast cancer.
  1. You only get breast cancer if you have a family history. Although having a family history can increase your risk, 80% to 85% of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Even if no one in your family has ever been diagnosed, you should not skip your yearly mammogram starting at age 40.
  2. I'm too young to worry about breast cancer. The disease is more common in post-menopausal women, but 25% of women with breast cancer are younger than 50. At the same time, you're never too old to get breast cancer. If you feel a lump at any age, have it checked out.
  3. If I'm diagnosed with breast cancer, it means I'm going to die. When caught early, up to 98 percent of women survive at least five years. The 10-year survival rate is 85% to 90%.
  4. If I make it five years as a survivor, my breast cancer won't return. Breast cancer can recur at any time, although it is more likely to happen within the first 5 to 10 years: 75% of women who will get a recurrence see it within 6 years, and 25% recur in the 10 years after that.
  5. Chemotherapy will make me nauseated and I will be vomiting all the time. In the last 10 years, new drugs have become available that can almost completely control nausea.
  6. If I have a breast lump, it's cancer. Some lumps could be cysts or a benign tumors. All lumps should be checked thoroughly.
  7. Herbal remedies and dietary supplements can help treat breast cancer. No herbal remedy, dietary supplement or alternative therapy has been scientifically proven to treat breast cancer. Further, doctors do not know how these alternative medicines may interact with established medicines.
  8. I eat a healthy diet, which will make me immune to breast cancer. Diet does play a role in cancer development, but not by itself. No one food or vitamin will prevent breast cancer. At the same time, no one food is responsible for causing cancer.
  9. My mammogram was normal, so I don't have to worry about breast cancer. While mammography does catch the vast majority of breast cancers, it is only one screening tool. Women should also have a breast exam done by their health care provider each year. It's important to get a mammogram every year. Doctors will look at previous years' mammograms to assess changes in the breast over time.
  10. If I have a breast biopsy, the surgeon might continue to remove my entire breast. Many years ago, surgeons would remove a suspicious mass, biopsy it on the spot and proceed to mastectomy if it showed signs of cancer. Today, you will sign an informed consent form that explains exactly what procedure will be performed before the biopsy operation.
  11. If a breast lump is painful, it's not cancer. Although lumps that are painful are generally not cancerous, in some cases they can be. Any lump should be thoroughly checked by a doctor.
  12. Radiation therapy is dangerous and will burn my heart, ribs and lungs. Current radiation techniques are safe and effective for treating breast cancer, with few complications. Methods used today minimize exposure to the heart, ribs and lungs.
  13. Participating in a clinical trial is good for others but not for me. In all clinical trials, the minimum any woman would receive is standard treatment. In some trials, participants receive a new drug or a new way to use an old drug. In others, patient participation may be as simple as having an extra tube of blood drawn or answering a survey. Studies have shown women who participate in clinical trials do better in the long run than those who do not.
Source University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Anonymous said...

Excellent TT. My step father was diagnosed with male breast cancer. Something we didn't even know could happen. Happy TT!!

Dane Bramage said...

Wow now I don't feel so dumb because I was about to ask if men can get breast cancer.

My Thursday Thirteen #52 is up!
13 Comic books that were made into movies. Come and see if your favorite hero is on the list.

Montserrat said...

Very informative list! It did answer some of my questions.

Anonymous said...

This was such an informative TT. Thank you for spreading the word on such an important message. That said, I admit to goose bumps because you can't help praying it doesn't happen to you.

Hootin Anni said...

Great idea for a 13!!!!

You've most likely helped a visitor or two....and that's even greater.

My T T is published, won't you drop by?

Anonymous said...

Great TT. Lots of good info.

Anonymous said...

Hello Angela

Great post and very good healthy information about breast cancer...

Dane Bramage! Yes men too get breast cancer. Surprised!! Yes, breast cancer is not limited to women.

Although women are about 100 times more likely to get this disease, man can also develop breast cancer.

However, men have much less breast tissue than women; they do have breast cells that can undergo cancerous changes.

Between the ages of 60 and 70 male breast cancer is most common. The prognosis for male breast cancer is the same as in women.