Whether you or someone you love has cancer, knowing what to expect can help you cope. Here you'll find in-depth information on specific cancer types – including risk factors, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options.
You can help reduce your risk of cancer by making healthy choices like eating right, staying active and not smoking. It’s also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain cancers early.
Whether you want to learn about treatment options, get advice on coping with side effects, or have questions about health insurance, we’re here to help.
The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. Below are some of the resources we provide. We can also help you find other free or low-cost resources available.
What does it take to outsmart cancer? Research. We’ve invested more than $5 billion in cancer research since 1946, all to find more – and better – treatments, uncover factors that may cause cancer, and improve cancer patients’ quality of life.
We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and donors. Together, we’re making a difference – and you can, too. Become a volunteer, make a tax-deductible donation, or participate in a fundraising event to help us save lives.
At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better.
When it comes to your breast health, don’t be fooled by rumors and misinformation. Get the facts. Test your knowledge of 6 common beliefs about breast cancer.
You can get breast cancer even if it doesn’t run in your family.
The Correct Answer is True.
Most women diagnosed with breast cancer – more than 85% – have no family history of the disease. Having a relative with breast cancer does increase your risk. But other factors such as age, being overweight, alcohol use, and hormone therapy after menopause can also increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
If breast cancer runs in your family, you’re sure to get it.
The Correct Answer is False.
Having breast cancer in your family doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. In fact, most women who get breast cancer don't have a family history of it. Some breast cancers are related to gene changes that are inherited from a parent. But many times, cancer runs in families because family members have similar lifestyle habits – habits you can control and change to lower your risk of breast cancer. This includes staying at a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, and limiting or avoiding alcohol. If you suspect you might have an inherited gene mutation, talk to your doctor about genetic counseling. The most common mutations that increase breast cancer risk are in the BRCA genes.
Knowing your family history empowers you to tackle the risk factors you can control. It should also motivate you to get screened regularly so that breast cancer is caught early – when it’s small, hasn’t spread, and is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about your risk, when you need to start screening, and whether you need extra tests beyond mammograms.
You still need mammograms after menopause.
Getting older is not a reason to skip regular breast health checks. In fact, your risk of developing breast cancer goes up as you get older. About 2 out of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 or older. As long as you’re in good health you should continue getting mammograms.
Men can get breast cancer.
More than 2,500 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Men should not ignore breast lumps and should get any breast changes checked. Still, breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women than men, with more than 260,000 women diagnosed in each year.
Surgery and needle biopsies can cause breast cancer to spread.
Needle biopsies to diagnose breast cancer do not cause cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body. Nor does exposure to air during breast cancer surgery cause the disease to spread. Sometimes a surgeon does find more cancer than the imaging scans or X-rays showed, but in those cases the cancer was already there. It just hadn't shown up on tests that were done.
There’s nothing you can do to lower your breast cancer risk.
While you can't change certain risk factors - like getting older or having a family history of breast cancer - you can do a lot to help reduce your breast cancer risk. Exercise more and eat healthier, especially if you’re overweight or obese. Get to and stay at a heathy weight. And limit or eliminate alcohol. Being responsible about your health can go a long way.
We can help you learn the facts!
You need to increase your breast cancer IQ to help keep your breasts healthy. Check out our breast cancer section to learn more about breast cancer and what you can do to help lower your chances of getting it. Go to Breast Cancer Early Detection and Diagnosis for details on what you can do to help find breast cancer early.
You’ve got a great breast cancer IQ, but there are still some myths clouding your knowledge, and some facts you may not be aware of. Check the links in the answers you got wrong – they can take you right to the information you need. Go to Breast Cancer Early Detection and Diagnosis for details on what you can do to help find breast cancer early.
You have a strong breast cancer IQ!
Congratulations! There’s always more to learn, so go to our breast cancer section to find out more about breast cancer and what you can do to help keep from getting it.