Treating Breast Cancer Early: Five Myths About Early Detection
For many women, breast cancer does not come with early warning signs or symptoms. That’s why regular mammograms and other health screens are crucial. Finding breast cancer early through preventive health screening gives you a better chance of successful treatment.
Common symptoms of breast cancer
Possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A new lump or mass
- Swelling in all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain (not associated with menstruation or pregnancy)
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaling or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Five myths about early detection
- Myth: If you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, you won’t get it.
Fact: Breast cancer is caused by abnormal changes (mutations) in certain genes passed from parent to child. In fact, the vast majority of people who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- Myth: Breast cancer always causes a lump you can feel.
Fact: Breast cancer might not cause a lump, especially when it first develops. Although it’s a good idea to perform regular breast self-exams, it isn’t a substitute for a mammogram. Breast lumps often appear after the cancer has moved beyond the breast and into the lymph nodes.
- Myth: Early stage breast cancer rarely recurs.
Fact: Even with early–stage breast cancer there is always some risk that the cancer will recur. There are many factors that influence your risk of recurrence, like the size of the original tumor, the number of lymph nodes involved and whether or not the cancer tested positive for hormone receptors and/or the HER2 gene.
- Myth: All breast cancers are treated the same.
Fact: Each person’s treatment plan is tailored to his or her unique needs. There are many different factors to consider, including the size, stage, location and grade of the cancer, or whether the cancer is a known genetic mutation (e.g., BRCA1 or BCRA2).
- Myth: Breast cancer only happens to middle-aged and older women.
Fact: While older women have a higher risk of breast cancer overall, younger men and women can and do get breast cancer as well. That’s why it is so important to get regular mammograms, and perform self-exams and report any unusual changes to your doctor or gynecologist.
The skilled oncologists at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) Central Jersey are specialized in treating breast cancer early and are here to help and support you through your cancer journey in every way possible.
For more information about how RCCA-CJ can help you or your loved one with a wide range of cancer care and treatment, or to schedule an appointment, call 732-390-7750.