California Cancer Associates for Research & Excellence (cCARE) experts acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month by clearing up common misconceptions, hoping to save lives and help more women heal better.
Fresno, CA (October 23, 2020) – Perhaps no disease has garnered more attention in the past couple of decades than breast cancer, which is very gratifying to surgical oncologist and breast cancer expert Dr. Casandra Anderson of cCARE in Fresno. Even so, she is keenly aware that the millions of women concerned about this disease, which 1 in 8 of them will get in their lifetime, are often misinformed about important specifics in prevention and treatment.
“With many women and even some men fearing the disease, I field a lot of questions and know that misinformation about breast cancer and its treatment is definitely out there,” says Dr. Anderson. “Just as focuses like Breast Cancer Awareness Month have helped us steadily decrease deaths from the disease, we know that clearing up ongoing misconceptions can save more lives and cure some of the fears that come with the unknown and misunderstood.”
Here are some common myths about breast cancer Dr. Anderson’s patients have.
Breast cancer is painful. The majority of the time breast cancer is painless unless it’s very large or in a very sensitive area near nerves, lymph nodes and muscles. “A woman can even have advanced breast cancer without ever feeling any pain, one of many good reasons proper screening is important for early detection,” says Dr. Anderson.
A woman with cancer in one breast can improve her chance of survival by removing the other, healthy breast. This prophylactic surgery does not improve survival rates. Unless a woman has a predisposition to breast cancer, it is unlikely that removing the opposite breast will provide benefit.
A woman can’t get breast cancer from her father’s side of the family. “Not only can men get breast cancer, but they can also pass down the genetic markers that cause breast cancer in women,” says Dr. Anderson. “We want to know if anyone on your father’s side has been diagnosed with cancer.”
Yesenia Martinez, a breast cancer survivor and former patient at cCARE, discovered that her Hispanic heritage and family history of breast cancer on her father’s side contributed to the fast-paced nature of her cancer and the need to move right into treatment.
“I wasn’t in shock. I wasn’t scared,” Martinez says, “I was just like, Okay. What’s the next step? How do we move forward?” With breast cancer being the leading cause of cancer death in Hispanic women, the experts at cCARE quickly took action.
Women also need advice on how their bodies will react to treatment and what they can do to improve comfort. For instance, Dr. Anderson gives patients two pieces of advice when it comes to counteracting the effects of radiation treatment: stretch and use lotion. Radiation is like taking a rubber band and setting it out in the sun: your tissue becomes very tight. Stretching can help return your tissues to normal elasticity, and using a thick lotion like cocoa butter with vitamin E before and after radiation will help the skin look and feel better immediately, as well as years down the line.
Dr. Anderson is available for media interviews on breast cancer myths and other insights into prevention and treatment. Also eager to help spread awareness about breast cancer are patients like Martinez, Susan Webster who beat the disease and became a cancer fitness expert, and Stephanie Jackson who found her own cancer lump, saving her life. Sharing their personal insights can encourage others to be aware of life-saving tips.
Dr. Anderson can also address other myths as well as some general tips when it comes to breast cancer signs and treatment. For example, some women are under the misconception that if they do a self-exam, they won’t need a mammogram. Webster is living proof that is wrong.
We hope you will consider helping these women get the word out to the Fresno or San Diego communities about combating breast cancer myths and increasing the quality of awareness information.
California Cancer Associates for Research & Excellence, cCARE, is the largest full-service private oncology and hematology practice in California. cCARE delivers the highest quality medical oncology, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, supplemented by a large research and clinical trials program. With nine clinical and business offices in the San Diego and Fresno areas, and one urology clinic in La Jolla, cCARE provides patients with thorough, compassionate and convenient treatment no matter where they call home. For more information, visit www.ccare.com.