10 Breast cancer myths

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No history

"You don't have a family history of breast cancer, so you're not at risk."

Not true. Hereditary breast cancer is the exception, not the rule. It accounts for only about 10 percent of cases. In the other 90 percent, cells become cancerous spontaneously with no known cause.

A good doctor will carefully review your family history to find out if you might have inherited a genetic mutation that indicates a higher risk. The biggest clue: numerous close relatives who had the disease, especially at young ages. "People concentrate on mothers and sisters, but it's important to look at the whole family," says Miesfeldt. "Breast cancer can be passed down from the father's side."

Continued on page 3:  Mother had cancer


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