To kick off Breast Cancer awareness month here are 5 myths about breast cancer from Brenda Baumann, director of The Breast Center here at St. David’s Medical Center
Myth 1: I don’t need a mammogram until 50 years of age-
A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri found that screenings in women ages 40 to 49 detected smaller cancers with less chance of spreading to the lymph nodes- which makes them easier to treat –and these cancers might not have been detected on a clinical exam.
Mammograms save lives of women in their 40’s. Women should begin screenings at age 40 and annually thereafter.
Myth 2: Mammograms cause cancer-
The radiation dose during a mammogram is low. It is the amount you would receive from flying for LA to Paris – a trip most of us would not give a second thought about taking.
Myth 3: If Breast cancer does not run in your family, you are not at risk-
Most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history and many who do have a family history will never develop the disease. The danger lies in a false sense of security. Every woman should talk to her doctor about her individual risks, including age, hormonal factors, and breast density.
Myth 4: Monthly self exams are not necessary-
Though you may have heard advice suggesting self exams do not save lives, many experts still encourage them since mammography and clinical exams are not perfect. Using all three methods is your best chance of early detection. Early detection can improve your odds of being cancer free with less dramatic treatments. Download an instructional self exam card here.
Myth 5: Breast cancer always appears as a lump-
Signs of breast cancer can take many different forms. See you doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- A change in the size or shape of your breast
- A dimpled or puckered appearance to the skin that resembles an orange peel
- An itchy, scaly area
- Nipple discharge other that breast milk
- Pain on one spot
- Swelling or redness of the breast
- An inverted (pulled inward) nipple if it has not always appeared this way
- A lump
Join us this month in supporting awareness and raising money to find a cure! If you would like to join the St. David’s Healthcare team, simply log on to komenaustin.org, click “join existing team” and search for St. David’s Healthcare.
Thanks for all the great information Brenda!