WELLNESS
10/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

25 Breast Cancer Myths And Misunderstandings

1. Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.

Reality:
Roughly 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease. But the family-history risks are these: If a first-degree relative (a parent, sibling, or child) has had or has breast cancer, your risk of developing the disease approximately doubles. Having two first-degree relatives with the disease increases your risk even more.

2. Myth: Wearing an underwire bra increases your risk of getting breast cancer.

Reality: Claims that underwire bras compress the lymphatic system of the breast, causing toxins to accumulate and cause breast cancer, have been widely debunked as unscientific. The consensus is that neither the type of bra you wear nor the tightness of your underwear or other clothing has any connection to breast cancer risk.

3. Myth: Most breast lumps are cancerous.

Reality:
Roughly 80% of lumps in women's breasts are caused by benign (noncancerous) changes, cysts, or other conditions. Doctors encourage women to report any changes at all, however, because catching breast cancer early is so beneficial. Your doctor may recommend a mammogram, ultrasound, or biopsy to determine whether a lump is cancerous.

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