National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual health campaign that’s organized by leading breast cancer charities and celebrated every October. One of the most important services offered during the month-long event is public education and it focuses, in large part, on dispelling myths.

Before putting several myths to rest, however, it’s important for Baby Boomers to consider updating their health care estate planning documents. A staggering one in eight women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The risk of breast cancer also increases with age and creating a Florida health care advance directive, for example, can protect aging women by allowing a trusted loved one to make health care decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated due to the disease or the treatment of it. Other planning issues also may apply and an experienced estate planning attorney can help both identify and plan for them. Let us share with you five common breast cancer myths to dispel right here:

1. Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer. The truth is, only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. This doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Take control of your health and alert a physician immediately. 

2. Men do not get breast cancer. Men do, in fact, get breast cancer but the disease impacts vastly more women. Research tells us that more than 252,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 40,500 will die. An estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with the disease, and approximately 460 will die.

3. A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and is currently the best early detection method for the disease. Mammograms involve small doses of radiation, but the risk of harm is extremely low. 

4. Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer. Right now, there is no conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants to breast cancer. 

5. A family history of breast cancer means you’re likely to contract the disease.  While women who have a family history of breast cancer may be in a higher risk group, research shows most women who have breast cancer have no family history.

As we focus on supporting women across the nation get the help they need in fighting breast cancer, it is important that we remember self care includes ensuring your estate planning documents are current. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions and schedule a meeting to get the answers you need to plan forward.