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Debunking The Myths About Breast Cancer: Common Myths, Misconceptions, And Misinformation About Breast Self Exam

The good news about increased breast cancer awareness is that, more women are doing breast self exam, finding small lumps, getting mammograms, and are diagnosed with cancers small enough to be cured.  The bad news is that there are still many dangerous myths circulating about breast cancer and breast self exam.

--First, the myth that "It doesn't matter if you check your breasts monthly:  if you're going to get breast cancer, you're going to get breast cancer".  Trust me: it matters.  If you're going to get breast cancer, the earlier you get diagnosed and treated the better.

--Next, some women think you only have to do a monthly self exam if you're at increased risk for breast cancer.  In fact, eight out of ten women with breast cancer have no other risks than being female.

--Women with lumpy (or "fibrocystic") breasts may feel like they won't be able to tell if there's anything abnormal anyway, so why bother.  Get to know your breasts' feel; anything new or unusual will be clear to you and should be reported to your physician.

--Last but not least, my favorite myth:  that antiperspirant causes breast cancer:  This is totally false, although widely circulated around the internet.  Not using antiperspirant will not lower your risk of breast cancer at all.

Created: 10/3/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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