Breast Cancer Myths – do not believe the lies

Before I was a Stage 3 Breast Cancer Patient, I believed all of the following statements.  Many of you do as well.

“I have no family history of breast cancer, so I don’t worry about it.”

“Breast cancer doesn’t hurt, so I know this breast pain isn’t cancer.”

“Very young women and very old women don’t get breast cancer.”

Those are all FALSE statements, and I’m going to briefly go through these widespread fallacies one by one.

I HAVE NO FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER, SO I DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT

The facts are that 75% to 80% of all breast cancer is NON-genetic.  So if you DO NOT have a family history, you are far more at risk.  Most of us have been wrongly taught by television, magazine articles and other celebrity gossip that family history is the number one key.   WRONG. 

Certainly, if you have a family history, that is a matter to immediately discuss with your doctor.  But PLEASE do not fall into the thinking that because no family members ever had breast cancer, you will not either.  I will repeat this:  Statistics prove that 75% to 80% of all breast cancer patients have no family history.

I had no relatives for generations and generations with breast cancer.  My mom had no relatives for generations and generations with breast cancer.  A genetic counselor believes it is a “fluke” we both got breast cancer.  Flukes happen.

BREAST CANCER DOESN’T HURT, SO I KNOW THIS BREAST PAIN  ISN’T CANCER

One of my most popular blog posts is one where I warn women that BREAST PAIN CAN BE CANCER!!   Thousands of women have read this post about breast pain and breast cancer.  I have gotten emails from many, many women thanking me for getting this message out because they had no idea.  Some have been diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of it.

I had horrible breast pain a year before my diagnosis.  Relying on Dr. Google instead of my own instincts and what my body was telling me, cost me my breast.  I do not want that to happen to you. When I was diagnosed, my large tumor was in the exact place where the pain was.  An unscientific study of hundreds of breast cancer patients on a popular breast cancer site discovered that over 50% had some type of breast pain before diagnosis.

Please read this:   https://denise4health.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/breast-pain-can-be-cancer/

VERY YOUNG WOMEN AND VERY OLD WOMEN DON’T GET BREAST CANCER

Certainly, I was under that impression.  Until I met the young woman in the chemo chair next to me who was diagnosed at age 21 with Stage 4 breast cancer that had literally eaten through her spine.  Doctors missed it because they thought she was too young for breast cancer.   Recently, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Lindsay Vanderveen, a young mom diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer at age 28.  Lindsay found her lump 6 months after giving birth to her second baby.  Lindsay’s mission is to teach younger woman that they can be at risk for breast cancer and  to do breast self-exams.

Young moms tell me, “I breastfed so that keeps breast cancer away.”  More wrong information because although there are some studies out there that show it MAY reduce your risk for breast cancer, that does not mean it does.  Plus, I have received hundreds of letters from women diagnosed in their 30s.

Many doctors tell their older patients – age 70 and up – that they don’t need to get their mammograms.   My mom was 80 when she found a lump.  She had not had a mammogram in 10 years.  She was one of the lucky ones that found her small lump that turned out to be Stage 1 – no chemo, no radiation for a woman her age.  Age makes no difference – you can get breast cancer and continue to get those mammograms.

Here are some more FALSE statements I hear quite often:

I am a vegetarian and vegetarians don’t get breast cancer.   WRONG.

I’ve been my same weight since high school.  I’m not a candidate for breast cancer.  Mostly overweight women get breast cancer.   WRONG

If I have breast cancer, I don’t want to know about it.  I don’t go looking for it.  Breast cancer won’t kill me.   WRONG

Mammograms cause breast cancer.  WRONG

Men don’t get breast cancer.  WRONG

Please do not believe the lies.  Get your mammograms and if you have ever been told you have dense breast tissue, make sure you get a 3D or Tomosynthesis mammogram PLUS an ultrasound at the very least!!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Breast Cancer Myths – do not believe the lies

  1. When I found out that I had cancer, I decided that I was going to make cancer the best thing that ever happened to me, not the worst. At 39 years old I was diagnosed with stage IIIB breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. I’d been told the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and bloodstream, and I had a 49 percent survival rate. I was not about to accept those odds! My husband, Michael, had lost his dad to colon cancer two years earlier and he was determined it wasn’t going to happen to me. He went online and learned about the Rick Simpson’s Oil at: http://www.phoenixtears.ca and we were able to get to him at: phoenixtears0@gmail.com in 2 days we were able to get the oil. I started treatment immediately within 3 months my cancer disappeared.There are many truths I have learned along the way of my cancer journey. It hasn’t always been fun and it certainly hasn’t been easy, but I feel that I am a better person for it. I never could have made it without the support of my family, friends and all of the people I met during my treatment. I believe that modern medicine truly is a miracle. Recovery does not happen in a day, a week or sometimes even a month. Listen to your body and your gut—and you will find the care you need.

  2. If you have dense breast, do get the 3D mammogramm and ultrasound but do not fully rely on it. I never checked my breast because of cysts etc.

    However, 5 months after my annual clean 3d mammogramm and ultrasound I found a tumor while applying lotion. I had to have a mastectomy because of several tumors but because of the characteristics and low oncotype DX score no chemo or radiation. By the way, the tumor felt very different than cysts. Even an MRI was inconclusive. I’m in a good place now, not looking back but I had a very false sense of security depending on the imaging. And the fact I have no family history, am fit and healthy.

  3. I’m 36, recently had a hysterectomy due to severe adenomyosis.

    During my recovery, I found a lump. I had a digital, not 3d mammogram and ultrasound last week. I had a previous baseline 4 years ago.

    My mammogram showed a spot, but I was told there was no way I could have felt it. That it was tiny, like a cm. That was I was feeling was glandular tissue on top.

    They did the ultrasound and said it looks like a cyst. You’re good until 40. You just had a hysterectomy, it’s hormones (I kept my ovaries, no HRT).

    Did I mention I’m a level 4 density? Did I mention that they didn’t actually have or compare the images from the first mammogram to the current one, just the report? Or that they actually used the controversy over density to calm me, which made me more uneasy?

    This radiologist actually looked at me and said, it’s pretty small, don’t worry. I’m like you’re not even confident as to what it is, and I’m pretty sure size doesn’t matter. Plus, you’re seeing a spot deep in my breast that I couldn’t have felt!

    Something just feels off. I want a biopsy or more in depth test. I’m not sure what to do at this point…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s