The Institute for Women's Health

Breast Cancer Awareness month has been around for a few years already, but most women only know a few things about it. Misconceptions as to what increases your risk of breast cancer and what does not are everywhere. In order to detect breast cancer at an early stage and treat it effectively, you must be well informed. Breast cancer still remains as one of the most treatable cancers if detected early. Lets make sure that we, and the women we know, are always informed and getting checked.

In order to prove that there are many misconceptions about breast cancer among women, Health Magazine teamed up with The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to conduct a study. Here are their surprising findings:

  • 63% of women think family history is the biggest risk factor when in reality the vast majority of women with breast cancer have no family history
  • 40% of women say that the cancer they worry about the most is breast cancer when this is the type of cancer that can be easily treated when caught at an early stage
  • 39% of women think that the best way to detect breast cancer early is by doing a breast self-exam, when 73% of doctors say that mammograms are more important than monthly self-exams
  • Only 4% of women say weight has a huge effect on breast cancer when in reality being overweight does increase your risk greatly.

As you can see, there are many things we believe about breast cancer that might not necessarily be true. Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month we want to make sure that all women are well informed.

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, here are some things every women should know about breast cancer:

  1. Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among women
  2. 1 in every 8 women will get breast cancer during their lifetime
  3. About 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer (the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed in 2015, while 231, 840 invasive cases (an advanced form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed in this same year
  4. As of today, there is a 89% of 5- year survival rate for women with breast cancer
  5. Age is a huge risk factor, women 50 and over have a higher risk
  6. Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women; 2,350 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2015
  7. If you have family history (usually immediate blood relative), you are twice as likely to get breast cancer
  8. Fat tissue may contribute to the increase in estrogen levels and this can lead to an increase in risk of breast cancer
  9. Risk of breast cancer can increase due to heavy alcohol drinking
  10. Routine mammograms are recommended starting at the age of 50
  11. Women should begin annual mammograms at the age of 40
  12. If you think you are at a higher risk than normal you might need to start getting mammograms at a much earlier age
  13. You should always ask your OB/GYN how to properly perform monthly self-exams starting at the age of 20

Breast cancer is a topic that most women are always thinking about, but never really want to discuss. Remember that breast cancer can be treated and eliminated if it is detected early. Visit your OB/GYN to learn more on how to perform self-exams and what to expect when you get a mammogram. Join us in educating women that early detection is key and that everyone must take action to prevent breast cancer. Motivate the women you know to schedule their mammogram today!

References:,,20630810,00.html cancer overview

Casiano, Victor L., MD
The Institute for Women’s Health