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November Symposium
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Statistics
Cancer Myths
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Asked Questions
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Dr. B. Thomas
School of Nursing
Dr. Anne Forrest
Women's Studies
Prof. Susan Gold/Smith
Visual Arts


from Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book

1. Having fibrocystic disease increases your risk of breast cancer.*
2. Coffee increases your risk of breast cancer.
3. Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
4. Mammography is 100% accurate in early breast cancer detection.
5. Older women don’t have to worry about breast cancer.
6. A diagnosis of breast cancer is an emergency.
7. A mastectomy ensures that the cancer is gone forever.
8. A breast cancer diagnosis is a death sentence.
9. Breast self-exams done routinely will find all cancers at a curable state.
10.Only women get breast cancer.

*Some health professionals disagree with Dr. Love on this issue.

THE TRUTH…
1. Having fibrocystic disease increases your risk of breast cancer.
Fibrocystic disease is a general term for any benign process in the breast and does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

2. Coffee increases your risk of breast cancer.
Coffee was once thought to increase the symptoms of fibrocystic disease. This was found not to be true and, in rats, coffee prevents breast cancer.

3. Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
Eighty percent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history, although women who have a family history of breast cancer are at increased risk.

4. Mammography is 100% accurate in early breast cancer detection.
Mammography is a very important tool for detecting breast cancer early, however, it is not 100% accurate. Any woman who has a lump and has a normal mammogram still needs to have it checked out.

5. Older women don’t have to worry about breast cancer.
The older you are the higher your risk of breast cancer. So all women need to worry about breast cancer.

6. A diagnosis of breast cancer is an emergency.
Most breast cancers have been present for eight to ten years by the time you can feel a lump, and so there certainly is time for you to get a second opinion, to read, and to fully explore the options.

7. A mastectomy ensures that the cancer is gone forever.
Mastectomy will remove the breast, however, it will not guarantee that the cancer will not recur. Eight to ten percent of women will have a recurrence in the scar after a mastectomy and there is also the possibility of metastases. Lumpectomy and radiation are as good as mastectomy in preventing breast cancer from returning.

8. A breast cancer diagnosis is a death sentence.
We cure most early breast cancer with standard treatments. Even in women who are not cured of breast cancer, we are certainly able to add three to five disease-free years to their lives.

9. Breast self-exams done routinely will find all cancers at a curable state.
Breast self-exams have never been shown to make a difference in the mortality of breast cancer. It is wishful thinking to believe it can always find cancer at a curable state.

10. Only women get breast cancer.
Men are also able to get breast cancer and, in fact, there are 1,400 cases of breast cancer in men in this country.

(www.feminist.org/other/bc/bcmyths.html)

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