Busting breast cancer myths

MINNEAPOLIS (KARE11), August 5th, 2016 – There’s so much information about the causes of breast cancer and how to prevent it that it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction! Dr. Lisa Schneider, Consulting Radiologists, Ltd’s breast imaging section lead, at Piper Breast Center in Abbott Northwestern joined KARE 11 News at 4 to dispel some of the breast cancer myths that just won’t go away.

What are some of the myths about breast cancer?

·  Deodorant and antiperspirants cause breast cancer

·  Under wire bras cause breast cancer

·  Small chested women have a lower risk of breast cancer

·  Sugar feeds cancer

·  Mammograms cause breast cancer

·  Men don’t get breast cancer

Where do you think some of these theories came from and why do they keep coming back?

A lot of these theories are urban legends that just won’t die.  When we get sick or get cancer we want to have a reason or a cause.  “I must have gotten cancer from all that aluminum antiperspirant I used…”  People then remember long ago that one study showed that women who used antiperspirant got breast cancer.  But what people do not hear is the follow-up which demonstrated the study was flawed or badly designed.  And, to use the myth of antiperspirants causing cancer as an example, most women use antiperspirant  never develop breast cancer.  Breast cancer is complex – there’s not just one thing causes it.

Are there things about breast cancer that we should know, but don’t?

Yes!  Many women believe they do not need a mammogram because they do not have a family history of breast cancer.  The reality is that 75-85% of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer or any identifiable risk factor for developing breast cancer.  If women who do not have a family history are not getting screened for breast cancer by having annual mammograms after the age of 40, we are missing an opportunity to find breast cancer in its early stages. Detecting breast cancer early, before it is able to be felt or palpated by a woman, is key to less aggressive therapy, improved outcomes and better survival rates.

Since the widespread adoption of screening mammography in the US population started in the 1980s, the mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased 35%.  That’s a big win.

What is the latest in the detection and treatment of this disease?

We now have digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) or 3D Mammography.  DBT is the latest generation of mammography that received FDA approval for use in the US in 2011.  It is a mammogram that takes a “deeper look” at all the breast tissue by creating sliced images of the breast, akin to a CT scan. Radiologists are able to examine the breast tissue slice by slice.  Like paging through a book, the individual pages can now be visualized, not just the front and back of the book.  Studies in the US and Europe are showing that DBT allows us to detect more invasive breast cancer earlier. DBT has been great technology from a screening perspective–increased sensitivity for finding disease and increased specificity resulting in fewer false positives. Fewer mammogram call-backs means less anxiety and stress for women.

To learn more about 3D mammography, call CRL Women’s Imaging at 952-915-4320


To watch the full interview, CLICK HERE.

Story courtesy of KARE 11 and Media Minefield.