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Top 10 Common Myths About Breast Cancer

Published on | Eric Brown

Breast cancer is the #1 enemy of women – FALSE!

Young women don’t get breast cancer – FALSE!

A negative mammogram means you do not have breast cancer – FALSE!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to get your facts straight when it comes to breast cancer. We want to share with you the 10 most common myths about breast cancer, and provide you with the facts to ensure every woman knows how to protect her health.

Myth #1: Young women do not get breast cancer.

Fact: Breast cancer can occur at any age. The risk increases with age. For example, one out of every 2,212 woman age 30 will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer; at age 40, that number changes to one in 235; at age 60, it is one in 23.

Myth #2: A negative mammogram means you do not have breast cancer.

Fact: Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of breast cancers are not seen on a mammography. The reason: it depends on the biological type of cancer, not because it was missed. That is why it is important to have a yearly clinical breast exam and conduct monthly self-exams, which may identify changes in the breast that can be further evaluated.

Myth #3: Finding a lump is the only way a woman can detect breast cancer.

Fact: Some cancers do not form a lump. A visual exam of the breasts often can show symptoms that a woman needs to report to her healthcare provider. If you see anything unusual in your breast such as a discharge, dimpling, rapid size increase, rapidly increasing pain with redness or anything else unusual, see your physician.

Myth #4: No history of breast cancer in your family means you never have to worry about it.

Fact: Approximately 70 percent to 75 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of it.

Myth #5 : A mother’s family history of breast cancer is the ONLY important history.

Fact: A father’s family history is equally important. Family history needs to include multiple previous generations.

Myth #6: All breast cancer patients receive the same treatment.

Fact: Each of the many different subtypes of breast cancer can vary greatly in growth and response to various treatments.

Myth #7: Breast cancer should be removed immediately before it spreads.

Fact: Breast cancer is not a medical emergency. Tumor doubling time ranges from 29 days to 220 days, averaging 100 days.

Myth #8: If a woman’s breast is removed, the cancer will not come back.

Fact: You do not live longer if you choose to have your breast removed when it is not medically necessary.

Myth #9: Breast cancer is the number one enemy of women.

Fact: It is the late detection of breast cancer that is the enemy.

Myth #10: High risk women cannot do anything to reduce their risks of getting breast cancer.

Fact: In addition to increased surveillance, high risk women also can maintain an ideal weight, exercise, quit smoking, reduce their alcohol consumption, eat wisely, get an annual mammogram starting at age 40. Good breast health is a three-step approach: self-exams, clinical exams and mammography.


Authors: Eric Brown, MD, FACS; and Linsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACS

Eric Brown, MD, FACSEric Brown, MD, FACS, has been caring for breast patients for 20 years. He is board certified in General Surgery and certified in Breast Ultrasound. He previously served as Director of Oncology Services at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, and also as Director of the Center for Breast Health at Beaumont – Troy. Dr. Brown is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the William Beaumont Oakland University School of Medicine. He is actively involved in research and serves as the Co-Principle Investigator of the Beaumont Cancer Institute Clinical Oncology Research Program. He was voted top breast cancer doctor for 2015 by Newsweek Magazine, and has been named a “Top Doc” for Metro Detroit by Hour Detroit Magazine for the past eight years.

Linsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACSLinsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACS, is a fellowship trained breast surgeon and certified in Breast Ultrasound. She has been caring for breast patients since 2006. She was named the first Director of the Comprehensive Breast Center at Genesys Regional Medical Center in 2006 where she served for three years. After that, she opened her own private practice. She is Fellowship Director of the Breast Fellowship program of McLaren/Karmanos Flint. She is actively involved with the American Society of Breast Surgeons and is an investigator and participant in a number of clinical trials, under the oversight of the National Cancer Institute. She was named a “Top Doc” this year for Metro Detroit by Hour Detroit Magazine. 

Dr. Brown and Dr. Gold work at Comprehensive Breast Care at 4967 Crooks Road in Troy. To reach the physicians, call 248.687.7300.

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