Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 19, 2017
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to refresh our knowledge of the disease. As more research is done and advancements are made, it can be difficult to determine the latest and most trusted information on breast cancer. It's important to review some common myths and facts about the disease, and share them with others.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women: Fact. An estimated 252,710 women (and 2,470 men) are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2017. In Wyoming alone, an estimated 410 women will be diagnosed and 60 will die of the disease. The positive news is that if breast cancer is diagnosed and treated early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 99 percent.
If your mother did not have breast cancer, you are not at risk: Myth. Although a family history of the disease does increase the risk, anyone can develop breast cancer. In fact, most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. Regardless, it is important to know your family history and talk to a health care professional to determine when and how often you should get screened.
Obesity can increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer: Fact. Studies show that obesity increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, possibly due to high estrogen levels found in fat tissue. Exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet can help lower these risks.
Taking birth control pills may increase your risk of breast cancer: Fact. According to several studies, birth control pills may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, especially in young women.However, risk levels return to normal about 10 years after individuals stop taking the pill. Most research on this topic applies to high-dose estrogen pills, which were more common in the past. More study is needed to determine if newer, low-dose estrogen formulas carry a similar risk. Talk to your health care professional about how birth control pills may impact your cancer risk; some studies suggest they may reduce risk for other cancers.
Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer: Myth. No clear scientific evidence has been found to support this claim.
Men do not get breast cancer: Myth. Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about one in 1,000. Talk to a health care professional about your risk.
The more we know about breast cancer, the more we can do to reduce our risk of the disease. To learn more about risk factors, symptoms, and screening for breast cancer, visitwww.preventcancer.org/breastcancer.
Bobbi Barrasso is a 15-year breast cancer survivor and active in volunteer organizations providing mammograms, low-cost screenings, and health services. Diana Enzi is an 11-year colon cancer survivor and active in volunteer organizations that encourage men and women to get appropriate screenings. Both are members of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. They are the spouses of U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi.