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Reviewed 5/24/2023

Breast cancer: Myth or fact?

Every woman has some risk for developing breast cancer. Separating the myths from the facts can help you stay smart about the disease.

Myth or fact: Most women who get breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

Myth. Only 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be inherited. But if a close blood relative had the disease, your own risk is higher.

Myth or fact: The only way to tell if you have breast cancer is if you feel a lump in your breast.

Myth. Routine mammograms can help detect breast cancer. And lumps in the breast aren't the only signs of cancer. Changes or pain related to the nipple or breast should also be discussed with a doctor.

Myth or fact: Physical activity may lower your risk for breast cancer.

Fact. There is strong evidence that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week. 

Myth or fact: Certain antiperspirants have been found to increase the risk for breast cancer.

Myth. There's no good scientific evidence that deodorants or antiperspirants cause breast cancer. The same goes for wearing certain kinds of bras.

Myth or fact: You don't need to continue having mammograms after menopause.

Myth. Your risk for breast cancer rises with age, so it's a good idea to continue getting regular mammograms until your doctor suggests otherwise.

It's important to know your risk for developing breast cancer. Once you know your risk, you may be able to work with a doctor to take steps to reduce it.

What's your risk for breast cancer?

Discover more breast cancer facts

Sources: American Cancer Society

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