Part III: You’re BUSTED! Breast cancer myths exposed, or are they really myths?

Women and breast cancerWritten by: Stacy Hammack, Senior Mammography Technologist, RT (R)(M) at Ripon Medical Center

That pot of coffee that I have every morning or all the caffeinated soft drinks I have in the afternoon will cause me to get breast cancer.

Fact: Some research has been done on this topic, and in fact it is suggested that caffeine may lower your risk of breast cancer. However, in hindsight, it is possible that breast soreness/tenderness is linked to caffeine. It is not recommended to alter caffeine intake in an effort to lower your risk. Please talk to your healthcare provider first.

Does the radiation from a mammogram cause breast cancer?

Fact: The amount of radiation is so small that the benefits from a preventive mammogram far outweigh any risks associated with the radiation received from a mammogram. A patient would have to receive 100 to 1,000 times higher radiation to have statistical increase in breast cancer risk. A mammogram gives about the same amount of radiation as flying in an airplane from New York to California.

Well, I don’t have any breast lumps, so I don’t need a mammogram. Are lumps the only form of breast cancer?

Fact: Breast cancer does not always come in the form of a lump. That is why it is not only important for self-breast examination, clinical breast examination, but also a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends that women starting at the age of 40 have a yearly mammogram until physically not capable to do so.

My mammogram is negative! Phew! I don’t need to worry about breast cancer!

Fact: Ten to 20 percent of breast cancer is not detected by a mammogram. Again, that is why it is so important to do all three breast examinations: Self-breast exam, clinical breast exam and screening mammogram.


About Agnesian HealthCare Womens Health

Addressing the physical, emotional and educational needs of women, Agnesian HealthCare's Women's Health Services offers the resources that apply to your life, in all its wonderful complexity. With a Health Resource Center, Obstetric Services, a Domestic Violence Program, Behavioral Health Services and programs serving women in mid-life, a number of options are available in the Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun areas.

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