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Breast Cancer Myths. Fact or Fiction?

Modern technology has made it easy for women to find information about breast cancer. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier for them to be misled. Myths are often circulated and popularized online, distorting women’s understanding of breast cancer. Here are 10 common breast cancer myths and the truth about them.

Myth No.1: Deodorant Causes Breast Cancer

This myth is based on flawed studies about two common ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants: aluminum and parabens. Aluminum is used to block sweat glands and by doing so, some people worried it could prevent the release of toxins and potentially damagebreast tissue and estrogen receptors around the armpits. However, the body does not expel […]

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Deodorant When Getting a Mammogram

A lot of women don’t understand why radiologists ask them not to wear deodorant when they come in for a mammogram. Most deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum, which blocks sweat ducts and prevents you from perspiring. The amount of aluminum in the average bar of deodorant is small, however, even a small amount is enough to interfere with a mammogram.

The aluminum particles in deodorant look like tiny white dots on mammogram, mimicking the appearance of calcifications on a mammogram. Calcifications can be an early sign of breast cancer. If there are any aluminum particles in the picture, it becomes difficult to distinguish deodorant aluminum from calcifications. This […]

Myth: Mammograms are equally effective for all women

Myth: Mammograms are equally effective for all women.

Fact: Up to 50% of small cancers may not be visible on the screening mammogram.

Although the screening mammogram has been highly effective in terms of early detection of breast cancer, it is not without its limitations. A recently published study in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrated that screening mammography has a 47 percent cancer false negative rate in women with dense breasts. This means that up to 47% of cancers may not be seen on the mammogram. Other recent studies demonstrated that women with dense breast tissue have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, which some […]

Myth: Breast Self Exam Doesn’t Work

Myth: Breast Self Exam Doesn’t Work

Reality: Breast Self Exams Can Be Lifesaving!

Until recently, all women were encouraged to do monthly breast self-exams (BSE) starting at age 21. However, new guidelines from the Komen Foundation and the American Cancer society state that women do not need to do self-exam, but should be “self-aware” and report any change to their doctor. Just how a woman becomes “self-aware” without some form of training is not explained.

These new recommendations have created a great deal of confusion. Women are asking, “Why the change in guidelines”? After all, the reality is that women who do BSE with confidence are capable of detecting small and potentially […]

Beginning Breast Cancer Screening at 50 Misses 20 Percent of Cancers

Delaying breast cancer screening until age 50 misses 20 percent of breast cancers, according to a study published by the American Journal of Roentgenology. The study examined 32,762 mammograms from women aged 40-79, as well as their prognosis and attendant risk factors. Of that group, 808 women received biopsies and 224 were diagnosed with breast cancer. Though the majority of breast cancers were found in women over 50, 18.8 percent were found in women 40-49.

Breast Cancer Controversy

This finding contradicts the breast cancer screening guidelines issued by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government panel that recommends medical practices to doctors and healthcare groups. In 2016, they […]

What About Breast Cancer in Men?

Although male breast cancer is rarely discussed, it is not exceedingly rare. On average, for every hundred females diagnosed with breast cancer, there will be one male diagnosed with breast cancer. Approximately 2,000 cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed yearly in the USA, compared to approximately 200,000 cases of female breast cancer diagnosed per year. The incidence of male breast cancer is increasing in the USA, probably because of increasing life expectancy.

Male breast cancer can occur over a wide range of ages, but are most common in the 60’s and 70’s, and are rare before the age of 50. Male breast cancer typically presents as lumps, but on occasion […]

What Age To Stop Mammographic Screening

One question that I commonly hear from my patients is “At what age can a woman stop having a screening mammogram?” Although there is not a simple answer to this question, there is now enough information about this subject for a woman to make an informed decision about herself or her aging relatives.

First, let’s start with the good news. Multiple well-designed scientific studies have demonstrated a 30-40 percent reduction in breast cancer mortality in women who do yearly mammograms. Things will get even better in the future as we move more towards aggressively screening high-risk women and women with dense breasts. Most of the information on the value of screening […]

Dr. Parris Paper: Breast Cancer Screening

There is an established consensus in the breast health community that mammography is the mainstay imaging examination for screening breast cancer. However, there are varied national recommendations among stakeholders and major institutions in the topic of breast cancer screening. Lack of consensus in screening criteria includes risk stratification, age to initiate screening, and the interval of screening. The differences in practice guidelines are mainly due to variation in design and interpretation of screening trials over the past decades. As debates for and against the use of screening mammography continue to escalate, both providers and patients are often confused and wrongly perceive the recommendations as directives. The purpose of this article […]

Breast Implants, Breast Cancer & Mammograms

One of the biggest questions women ask when getting breast implants is, “Will breast implants raise my risk of breast cancer?” Fortunately, the answer is no. The chance of a woman developing breast cancer because of her breast implants is negligible. Until very recently, doctors believed the odds were actually zero, which is why the FDA declared them safe and effective in 2006. However, recent studies suggest they may play a small role in a very rare type of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Doctors haven’t found a direct link, so if you’re considering breast implants, you shouldn’t be scared. No doctor is warning women not to […]

Research Points to Benefits of 3D Mammography

Digital tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, has emerged as an effective breast imaging tool. 3D mammography combines conventional 2-dimensional mammogram images with additional 3-dimensional views. This enables enhanced views of breast tissue and research suggests 3D mammography offers several benefits over conventional 2D mammography.

Improved Cancer Detection Rate & Reduced Recall Rate

Numerous studies have shown the benefit of 3D mammography over conventional 2D mammography.  Both prospective and retrospective trials have shown a significant increase in cancer detection and a decrease in recall rate with 3D mammography.

One prospective randomized trial, published April 2013 in Radiology by Skaane et al.[1] compared 3D and 2D mammography in more than 12,000 patients. Researchers […]

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