cCARE is on a Myth-Busting Mission to Boost Breast Cancer Awareness

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.

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, of which one in eight 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 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.

Dr. Anderson is available for media interviews on breast cancer myths and insights into prevention and treatment. Also available are patients Yesinia 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.

Contact Mallory MacFarlane (303 225-9597, ), for questions and interviews.

Source: California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence (cCARE)