Anyone who follows us knows that most of our blogs are dedicated to healthy teeth and beautiful smiles, because that’s what we’re all about here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics! We love to talk about all the benefits of Invisalign and braces for teens in Memphis, Germantown, and Collierville. But, during the month of October, we’d like to take a little time off from teeth to focus on another topic that is near and dear to our hearts – breast cancer awareness.
Did you know that around 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop some form of invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime? For women in the U.S., the breast cancer death rates are higher than those for almost any other cancer. In fact, over 40,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer in 2016 alone. These are pretty sobering statistics.
Almost every one of us has been affected by breast cancer in some way. We’ve seen our mothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts diagnosed. We’ve watched co-workers, neighbors, members of our congregations and softball teams fight against it. Some of us have even had to travel this road ourselves. It’s no wonder that “think pink” has taken off in such a major way in recent years as this disease has touched the lives of so many people.
The good news is that the death rates from breast cancer have been dropping since about the late 1980’s, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of breast cancer being found earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatment options.
However, there’s still a lot of unfortunate misinformation surrounding breast cancer. This can sometimes lead to fear and a hesitation to seek medical advice and treatment.
As part of our effort to help increase breast cancer awareness, here are 10 common breast cancer myths we’d like to debunk!
1. Breast cancer is a death sentence
Now more than ever, the vast majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer display no signs of the cancer spreading beyond the breast and lymph nodes. About 80 percent of women diagnosed today live at least five years, and most will live much longer.
2. You don’t need a mammogram before age 50
Most medical professionals recommend that women have annual mammogram screenings starting at age 40, or earlier if the woman has a higher risk of breast cancer. Mammograms are the single best screening tool available for the early detection of breast cancer.
3. Only people with a family history are diagnosed
A family history of breast cancer does increase your risk factor for developing it yourself, but every woman has some risk of developing the disease. About 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have had no family history of the disease.
4. It’s your fault
Lifestyle factors might play a role in risk, but currently, no one knows exactly what causes breast cancer. Some experts believe that you can develop breast cancer from eating too much fat or not exercising enough, but both perfectly healthy people and people with high-fat, sedentary lifestyles are diagnosed every day.
5. All treatments are the same
Treatment plans will vary from patient to patient. Options for treatment will depend on the type of cancer they have, the size of the tumor, the age of the patient, and their stage in the disease. Some women will need surgery, radiation, and months of chemotherapy. Others may only require surgery or a chemo regimen.
6. Breast cancer is one, single disease
The broadest categories of breast cancer are invasive and non-invasive, but then there are several types and subtypes that depend on multiple factors. The one, and sometimes only, thing they have in common is that they all develop in the breast. Myths like this are why breast cancer awareness and education are so important!
7. A mastectomy will be necessary
Many of us jump to this conclusion when we learn of a breast cancer diagnosis, but a mastectomy isn’t always necessary or even preferred. For women with breast cancer at just one site, with a tumor smaller than 4 centimeters, and clean margins achieved during surgery, a lumpectomy with radiation has been proven to be just as effective as a mastectomy.
8. Removing lymph nodes will cause discomfort and swelling
It’s true that lymph node surgery can lead to discomfort, numbness, and swelling. However, proper care of the arm along with physical therapy will usually help alleviate or even avoid these symptoms.
9. Using deodorant causes breast cancer
Despite multiple studies, there is no conclusive evidence that antiperspirants influence your risk of developing breast cancer.
10. Surgery causes cancer to spread
Cancer that has already spread to other parts of the body can be silent for some time before it is discovered. No evidence currently exists that supports the idea that surgery causes cancer to spread.
How we’re helping this October
Thanks to breast cancer awareness organizations like Susan G. Komen, there have been dramatic improvements in cancer research, treatment, and early detection in recent years. In fact, Susan G. Komen is the ONLY organization that addresses breast cancer on multiple fronts.
The Komen foundation does a great deal of research, while working to improve community health and participating in global outreach. They also put into place public policy initiatives in order to make the biggest impact possible against breast cancer.
For all these reasons and more, our team here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics have chosen to think pink this October to raise funds for more breast cancer awareness and research. But we need your help to help us make a big impact!
What you can do to help
It couldn’t be easier! Simply ask for pink ties or elastic chain at your next appointment and take a selfie at the office. Then check-in on Facebook or Instagram, post the photo, and tag it with #EmbracePink. For every selfie posted by a patient, Dr. Kyle will donate $5 to the Memphis Susan G. Komen foundation, which is located right here in Germantown, TN.
What’s the best part, besides looking cute and raising money for breast cancer awareness and research?
If we reach our goal of $1000 donated, Dr. Kyle will wear a PINK TUTU to the office ALL WEEK!
Although straight smiles and healthy teeth are our passion, we want all the women in our lives to know that we stand behind them and support the efforts to eradicate this disease. Help our Collierville and Germantown offices make a difference by thinking pink the next time we see you!