Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant, or cancerous, cells divide uncontrollably and develop a lump or mass in the breast. There are different types of breast cancer divided into two categories: in situ and invasive. In situ simply means the cancer still resides in the place where it first formed. In other words, it has not spread to any surrounding areas of the body. Invasive breast cancer means it has spread to other areas.
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide and primarily diagnosed in women. In the U.S., about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the older a woman is the more likely she is susceptible to breast cancer. In fact, the median age of diagnosis is about 62 years old, although age and risk vary based on many factors including race and ethnicity.
As we age, it is important to have a general awareness of breast cancer in case you or someone you know needs support in taking preventive measures or navigating treatment. Let’s run through four fast facts and dispel a few myths about breast cancer.
Fact or Myth
Only women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Myth. Although significantly lower chances than women, men can also have breast cancer. Men are estimated to have about 2,670 new cases annually compared to 260,600 cases for women.
If I don’t have symptoms, chances are I don’t have breast cancer.
Myth. While there are many early warning signs of breast cancer, it is possible to show no visible symptoms.
Healthy eating and regular exercise will prevent cancer.
Myth. While studies have shown that physical activity can lower the risk of breast cancer, there are no guarantees.
Preventive measures like regular well-woman exams and breast cancer screenings will help detect early signs of breast cancer.
Fact. Breast cancer screening tests like mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs and other imaging tests can help detect breast cancer.
Schedule a Breast Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society recommends screening tests for women 45 years and older, unless there are other factors like symptoms, genetic makeup or family history that would prompt an earlier response. Talk to your doctor to determine what is right for you.
At USFHP, we encourage our members to regularly receive and report their health screenings to us. We will continue sharing ways to improve and sustain good health while providing an equitable, reliable health plan for you and your family. If you would like to review your plan benefits or locate a provider, please visit our website at usfhp.net or contact us at 1-800-241-4848.