The truth will not harm women. But misinformation can. And there is much misinformation around breast cancer. It is crucial that you speak to those close to you to dispel some of the long-standing myths held about breast cancer. For example, breast self-exam (BSE) was once announced as a revolutionary public health message. This positioned women as the first line of defense – in hopes that frequent checks would eliminate the chance for breast cancer to grow for too long, or develop aggressively. Now evidence actually shows that BSE does not save lives, or detect breast cancer at an earlier stage. But it can cause harm. While each woman’s personal experience varies, it is important to learn about the evidence so that your friends and family can make informed decisions and their own choices.
Many people believe that the majority of breast cancer patients have ac family history of the disease, when actually, 8 out of 9 women who develop breast cancer do not have an affected mother, sister or daughter. The people you know and love deserve to know the truth about breast cancer, such as the fact that white women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, but African American women have a higher mortality rate.
The myths and misinformation have been out there for too long. Many women and men have overestimated or underestimated their risk, changed behaviors in ways that were not helpful, and made decisions based on incorrect assumptions. Talk to people you know and love – your family, friends, colleagues, church members, book club members, etc. – so that they will know the truth about breast cancer. And, then ask them to tell the people that they know and love.
Breast cancer is a political issue that requires grassroots advocacy and action. Grassroots advocacy is most effective when as many people as possible are involved – that’s why it’s important to recruit your personal network to NBCC’s mission to end breast cancer. Together, we can create change and eradicate breast cancer.