Debunking breast cancer myths

Debunking breast cancer myths

Women are constantly bombarded on what they can do to prevent breast cancer. However, there is no definitive known way to prevent the disease. One in eight women in the United States will develop some form of breast cancer.

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to several medical experts to address a few common breast cancer myths.

Myth: Mammograms cause breast cancer

Fact: Annual screenings are the key to finding breast cancer early. A mammogram is currently the best screening tool for finding breast cancer. It uses extremely low levels of radiation to create detailed images of the breast.

Mammogram
These mammograms show a normal breast (left) and a breast with cancer (right, white arrows). Image via Wikipedia.

On average, the total dose for a typical mammogram is about 0.4 mSv. People are normally exposed to an average of about 3 mSv of radiation each year from their natural surroundings. The dose of radiation from a mammogram is about the same amount of radiation averaged from natural surroundings over about 7 weeks.

The Mammography Quality Standards Act was created by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and passed by Congress to mandate rigorous guidelines for x-ray safety during mammography. The MQSA guidelines assure that mammography systems are safe and use the lowest dose of radiation possible. Patients should make sure they are being imaged at an ACR-accredited facility.

Dr. Correna Terrell, medical director of the breast imaging center at Houston Methodist West Hospital, recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer begin annual mammograms at age 40. If you have additional risk factors, your physician may recommend mammograms beginning at an earlier age.

Myth: Sugar feeds cancer

Fact: Sugar does not spread cancer. However, if you have too much sugar in your diet, specifically simple sugars found in baked goods, this can cause weight gain. Weight gain overtime can lead to obesity and obesity has been linked to an increase risk of several cancers.

“Our bodies do need simple sugar, for energy,” says Renee Stubbins, registered dietician at the Houston Methodist Cancer Center. “The average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar per year, or an extra 500 calories per day. The key to any healthy balanced diet is moderation,” Stubbins said.

80% of lumps are caused by non-cancerous changes in the breast Click To Tweet

Natural occurring sugars like those found in fruit, vegetables and whole grain are all needed to help maintain muscle and weight during cancer treatment and have been shown to help fight cancer. Avoiding processed sugars that are found in cakes, baked goods and desserts and sticking with fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents health issues in the future.

Myth: All breast lumps are cancerous

Fact: In general, 80 percent of lumps are caused by non-cancerous changes in the breast. This percentage tends to fluctuate with age. As a woman ages, her risk of breast cancer increases. While the percentage of benign breast lumps in older women may be much lower than in younger women, it is still important for women to report breast abnormality to their physician. Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored.

Join us Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Rice University Tudor Fieldhouse for a morning to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. Special guest, Ilona Carson of ABC-13, will be emceeing. Registrants will get the opportunity to learn healthy tips from primary care physicians, OB-GYN’s, breast care and health experts. The morning will also include a yoga session, menu ideas and giveaways.

CLICK HERE to register.

Katie Wooldridge

Katie Wooldridge

Communications Specialist at Houston Methodist
Katie is a native Houstonian who loves everything Texas. If you are looking for the best queso in town, she’s tried them all. She is a TCU Horned Frogs fan, Ellie Goulding enthusiast and an avid Scandal watcher.
Katie Wooldridge

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Katie Wooldridge

Katie is a native Houstonian who loves everything Texas. If you are looking for the best queso in town, she’s tried them all. She is a TCU Horned Frogs fan, Ellie Goulding enthusiast and an avid Scandal watcher.

  • Andrea Navarro

    I would like to say that u have a horrible doctor on staff, that i want to let everyone know what kind of doctor he is. He did not know that my sisters cancer came back to her hip bone and then he over prescribeds her pain killers to make her feel better,he prescribed s her over 300 in 1 month,gets her addicted to the pills,takes for ever yo refill her chemo pills ,that they were the most important and most of all did not know that her cancer came back to her hip bone.she passed away from liver damage from the pills and breast cancer.His name is ANGEL RODRIGUEZ