What do you know about breast cancer?

More than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Today’s quiz is meant to ascertain what you know about the disease. Let’s get started.

1. 80% of all women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. True or false? It’s true. The American Cancer Society says that you are at increased risk if a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter, father, brother or son) has had breast cancer, but “it is important to note that the majority of women with one or more affected first-degree relatives will never develop breast cancer and that most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.”

2. You don’t need a mammogram if you haven’t had any symptoms or problems. True or false? The answer is false. A mammogram can detect lumps before they can be felt. “Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and easily treated,” ACS says. “Therefore it is very important for women to follow recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage.”

3. Select the two most important reasons for a woman to be at risk for getting breast cancer. A. Being a woman; B. Environment; C. Family history; D. Getting older; E. Obesity; F.  Lack of exercise; G. Starting menopause after age 50. So, what did you choose? All of these are contributors to a higher risk of breast cancer, but the correct answers are A and D.

4. All breast lumps are cancerous. True or false? No. It’s false. As a matter of fact, most lumps are not cancer but are benign conditions often fibrosis or cysts.

5. Which of the following can cause breast cancer? A. Smoking; B. Hormone Replacement Therapy, C. Drinking alcohol; D. Eating a healthy diet; E. Using oral contraceptives; F. All of the above. Okay, I tried to fool you with D so if you answered “all of the above” you go to the back of the class! All of the others are potential contributors.

Talk to your healthcare professional about the risks of HRT and oral contraceptives. The ACS advises all of us to “choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.” If you smoke, quit. If you drink, drink in moderation. That’s one for women and two for men per day.

6. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for both men and women in the USA. True or false? True, right behind lung cancer.

7. Men can’t get breast cancer. True or false? False. The website, www.breastcancer.org, states, “Breast cancer in men is a rare disease. Less than one percent of all breast cancers occur in men. In 2016, about 2,600 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.”

8. A breast injury can cause breast cancer. True or false? Nope. That’s an old wives’ tale.

9. Every 30 seconds another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.  True or false? It’s true, but there are great strides in breast cancer treatment and more women are surviving today than ever before. Early diagnosis is the key.

10. Mammograms are painful. True or false? Personally, I’ll tell you that’s false, but here’s the National Breast Cancer’s answer: “Mammography does compress the breasts and can sometimes cause slight discomfort for a very brief period of time. Patients who are sensitive should schedule their mammograms a week after their menstrual cycle so that the breasts are less tender. Your doctor may say it is fine to take acetaminophen an hour before the x-ray is performed to prevent discomfort too.”

The American Cancer Society’s guideline for breast cancer screening recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer should start regular screening mammography at 45 years of age and should be screened annually until age 54. Women over 55 should transition to biennial (every two years) and continue as long as they have a life expectancy of 10 years or more.

Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.