October is pink month. You see pink everywhere.

The designation of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs.

Pink_ribbon_svgThe pink ribbon has been the international symbol of breast cancer awareness since 1992.

Due in large part to NBCAM and the pink ribbon campaign, two things have happened in recent years:

~a gradual reduction in female breast cancer among women aged 50 and older has been recorded.

~a decline in death rates from breast cancer

Still there are myths about breast cancer that persist. Below are seven such myths and facts to debunk those myths

  1. MYTH: Finding a lump in your breast = breast cancer.

FACT: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.

  1. MYTH: Men cannot get breast cancer.

FACT: Each year approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die.

  1. MYTH: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.

FACT: A mammogram is the current gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer.

  1. MYTH: A family history of breast cancer means you are likely to develop breast cancer.

FACT: A family history of breast cancer places you in a higher risk group, but ten percent of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

  1. MYTH: Breast cancer is contagious.

FACT: Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast.

  1. MYTH: The gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 detected in your DNA means you will definitely develop breast cancer.

FACT: According to the National Cancer Institute, “not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.”

  1. MYTH: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.

FACT: Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer.

Material in this blog from the National Cancer Institute and the National Breast Cancer Organization.

Wearing pink or the pink ribbon identifies the wearer with breast cancer awareness and shows moral support for those with breast cancer. I’ll be wearing pink and debunking myths this month.

Will you?