October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A giant-sized pink Breast Cancer Awareness on display at the corner of 5th and Market in Louisville, Ky.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Do you have a pink ribbon? (Photo Credit: CC BY/Jason Meredith/Wikipedia)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time for America to reflect not only upon those whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, but also to focus on preventative measures and even a cure. Knowing the breast cancer facts and breast cancer myths can be invaluable.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month by the numbers

According to American Cancer Society estimates, in 2009 there were 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 62,280 early-stage breast cancer diagnosed in women. Of those, more than 40,000 were predicted to result in death.  Breast cancer was also estimated to be diagnosed in nearly 2,000 men last year. Of those, about 440 were predicted to die.

Common breast cancer myths

  • Underwire bras promote breast cancer growth

The false belief here is that by constricting breast tissue, underwire bras cause cancer-causing toxins to build up. The truth, Dr. Deborah Axelrod tells CBS, is that no such link exists.

  • Deodorant causes breast cancer

This is also false, claims Dr. Schnabel. No studies have shown a link between antiperspirant and toxins that cause breast cancer.

  • Drink from plastic water bottles and get breast cancer

While some experts believe that there is cancer-causing dioxin in plastic bottles that leaches into the water, just as many cast doubt on this claim. BPA (bisphenol) is another substance of concern in plastic, but even that has not been definitively connected to breast cancer.

  • Mammograms cause breast cancer

Dr. Schnabel tells CBS News that the amount of radiation (0.1 to 0.2 rads per picture) released in a mammogram is equal to or less than what a woman’s breasts are exposed to naturally over a three-month period.

  • Lumpy breasts always mean greater risk

While lumpy breasts can make breast cancer detection somewhat more difficult, having lumpy breasts does not resign a woman to breast cancer. However, Dr. Axelrod advises that it’s best to treat newly discovered breast lumps with caution and have a doctor investigate.

  • No family history, no breast cancer

While breast cancer can run in the family, studies indicate that 80 percent are sporadic cases.

American Cancer Society

CBS News

Susan G. Komen ‘Survivor of the Year’ on ‘The Early Show’

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