Deciphering Breast Cancer Myths and Facts: April 20, 2011

What do cell phones, technology, and medications have in common? They've all been categorized as possible links to breast cancer, and to this day, there's still no connection. "I think to curtail your life to living as a hermit just to make sure you don't get breast cancer, I don't think anybody would want to do that," says Dr. Mai Saif, a diagnostic radiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Turning away from the myths, Dr. Saif says they are learning more truths concerning breast cancer. "The facts we know that increase the risk of malignancy: #1) is a family history. #2) the radiation. #3) the known genetic factors. Those we know for sure."

Another truth: self-breast exams, mammograms, and early detection are now more important than ever before. "Unfortunately, it's in younger women too and that's the hard part. Forty year olds, 36 year olds, and it breaks your heart really to see them come through but it's a satisfying feeling to be able to catch them at a very small size because you know anything under a centimeter, you are offering a cure," explains Dr. Saif.

Thanks to new technology, success rates are climbing. Digital mammograms, detailed ultrasounds, enhanced MRI imaging and computer guided programs are making it easier to diagnose, treat, and uncover more truths surrounding breast cancer.