Fact or fiction: Cleveland Clinic doctor debunks breast cancer myths

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CLEVELAND - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while most people are aware of the disease, many don't necessarily take the proper steps for early detection.

One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., and it is the most common cancer among women worldwide.

But Cleveland health officials say there has been a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidents thanks to new screening guidelines and early detection.

“Early detection is absolutely key because that's what increases the number of options a woman has available to her for treatment," says Dr. Laura Shepardson, Cleveland Clinic Associate Director of Mammography.

Shepardson says those treatments range from lumpectomy, to mastectomy to radiation and chemotherapy.

Dr. Shepardson also helped separate fact from fiction when it comes to breast cancer.

For starters, does finding a lump automatically mean cancer?

Shepardson says, “There are plenty of benign things, in fact, the vast majority of call backs are benign."

Also, doctors say women should start getting annual mammograms at the age of 40. But there are exceptions, including family history and if you have dense breasts.

In those cases, your doctor may recommend specialized screenings like an MRI or 3D scanning…the latest technology.

“Breast cancer is not the disease it was 30 or 40 years ago. The times have changed; the treatment options are really amazing in terms of what we can do for ladies with breast cancer," according to Shepardson.

Fox 8 wants to spread a message of support to viewers across Northeast Ohio and pay tribute to those fighting breast cancer as well as those who are still fighting it and those who lost their courageous battles with it. Click here to go to our photo gallery to share your pictures.

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