Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Myths Debunked


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and everywhere you look from the NFL to your local Phoenix physician, is turning pink to honor those who have passed, those who are survivors, and to remind everyone to educate themselves on the topic of breast cancer. At Family Practice Physicians, our Phoenix doctors want to take this opportunity to shed some light on breast cancer myths and truths.


If you’ve found a lump in your breast, it’s definitely going to be cancerous.

According to the American Cancer Society, most biopsy results for suspicious lumps, come back completely normal. Still, if you do find a lump in your breast, it’s imperative that you contact your Phoenix doctor for farther inspection. However, just because you find a lump does not ensure that you have breast cancer.


A benign breast condition could be fibrosis, cysts, mastitis, fat necrosis, or duct ectasia; none of which are life threatening.


A lump in the breast is the only sign of breast cancer.

In reality, there are many symptoms and signs of possible breast cancer, including skin irritation, dimpling, nipple pain, swelling in the armpits, or unusual discharge. Phoenix doctors will also check for a reddish, pitted surface or any change in size, contour, texture or temperature of the breast. These are all signs of possible breast cancer.


If you fall into the risk categories, there is nothing you can do to avoid breast cancer.

Our Phoenix doctors become frustrated when faced with this myth because it’s not only untrue, it can be damaging and detrimental. Yes, there are typical risk factors associated with breast cancer, including age, race, family history, genetics, reproductive history and dense breasts, but these are not predictors of 100% diagnosis with breast cancer. There are things that you can do to prevent breast cancer if you fall into these categories. In fact, our Phoenix doctors would suggest that all women should be doing these things consistently for all-around better health – physical activity, diet, breastfeeding, limiting alcohol consumption, getting regular mammograms.


“I have none of the risk factors, so I don’t have to worry about it.”

Just as our Phoenix doctors become frustrated with the above myth, this one really gets under our skin as well because of it’s detriment to those who fall outside of the standard risk factors. According to, 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors for the disease.


Breast size has a lot to do with breast cancer risk.

There is absolutely no link or connection between breast size and risk for a breast cancer diagnosis.


“My father’s mother had breast cancer, but no one on my mom’s side has had it, so I’m safe.”

Your father’s family history with breast cancer is just as important as your mother’s side of the family. Family history plays a large role in your risk for breast cancer, no matter which side of the family it comes from.


If you’re mammogram was clear, you have nothing to worry about.

While we never want you to worry, diagnosis of breast cancer involves more than simply the mammogram. Mammograms fail to detect roughly 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers. This is where self-exams become so very important.


Through the month of October we will be taking you through everything you need to know about breast cancer, from the myths mentioned above to the self-exams, mammograms, all the way through the types of cancers. Follow us on Facebook to stay educated during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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