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Breast Cancer myths

Myth 1

There's no history of breast cancer in my family, so I don't need to worry.


More than 80% of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of the disease.

Myth 2

I don't need a mammogram if I don't have any symptoms.


A mammogram can detect breast cancer when it is very small. Remember, if detected early, breast cancer can be treated with success.

Myth 3

My doctor didn't tell me to get a mammogram so I don't need one.


Today most doctors tell women to begin having mammograms every year starting at age 40. But remember, if you have any symptoms, like a lump in your breast, see your doctor right away.

Myth 4

Having a mammogram is really painful.


A mammogram is a little uncomfortable because your breast is put between two plastic plates and flattened. Mammograms take only a few seconds so you're not uncomfortable for long.

Myth 5

Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.


8 out of 10 lumps are not cancer!  If you discover a lump or any changes in your breast go see your doctor right away

Myth 6

A mammogram gives off a lot of radiation.


Since a mammogram is an x-ray it uses radiation to take a picture.  The amount of radiation is very small compared to the benefits of detecting breast cancer early.

Myth 7

I've already had a mammogram and it didn't show any cancer, so I don't need another one.


Once is not enough! Every woman starting at age 40 should start have a mammogram every year. Breast cancer usually grows slowly so you need to go every year to catch it when it's small.

Myth 8

If a mammogram finds something it's too late to do anything.


When breast cancer is found early your chances of survival are 96%!  This means that 96 out of 100 women survive for 5 or more years!  There are many options for treatment when breast cancer is found early.

Myth 9

The size of my breast changes my risk for getting breast cancer.


Whether large or small, the size of a woman's breasts does not change her risk for getting breast cancer.

Myth 10

A mammogram is not a cure for breast cancer.


A mammogram can detect breast cancer when it's very small. Remember if detected early breast cancer can be treated with success.

Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts offers free breast exams and mammograms to women age 40 and older. To see if you qualify for these free tests call 1-800-511-2300 Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. We speak English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.

Last modified on: 1/23/2008 10:45 PM