25 Breast Cancer Myths and Misunderstandings

See the most common breast cancer myths and get the facts about them with our quick guide.
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Myth: If you're at risk for breast cancer, there's little you can do but watch for the signs.

Reality: There's a lot that women can do to lower their risk, including losing weight if they're obese, getting regular exercise, lowering or eliminating alcohol consumption, being rigorous about examining their own breasts, and having regular clinical exams and mammograms. Quitting smoking wouldn't hurt either. Some high-risk women also choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy to decrease their risk by roughly 90%. They can take other proactive steps such as having regular MRIs, exploring chemoprevention with treatments such as tamoxifen, and participating in clinical trials. The important thing to do if you think you might be at high risk is to talk to an expert who can evaluate your situation and discuss your options. High-risk women's clinics and preventive-care programs are great places to start.