Admittedly, breast health and screening guidelines can be confusing. For your health, it's important to understand and correct common misperceptions about breast cancer:
Myth 1. "Breast cancer's not in my family so I'm not at risk."
Not true! Most breast cancers are spontaneous, meaning there's no family history or genetic link.
Women with a family history or genetic link are indeed more at risk and there are screening guidelines specific for higher-risk individuals. Still, it's important to remember that all women are at risk for breast cancer and the majority of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women with no family history.
Myth 2. "I'm too young to get breast cancer."
Women at all ages are at risk for breast cancer. While it's true that more breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 50 and older and risk increases as you age, the fact is that many women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with the disease.
Myth 3. "I lead a healthy lifestyle so I'm not at risk for breast cancer."
Healthy women get diagnosed with breast cancer every day. No activity or intervention is 100% guaranteed to prevent breast cancer. While some lifestyle choices can increase your risk, doing all the "right things" when it comes to healthy behaviors doesn't mean you can't get breast cancer.
By all means, stay committed to positive lifestyle behaviors for your overall health, but understand screening mammography remains the key to breast health and early detection.