Five years ago, Kathy Connell couldn't believe her diagnosis.

"The first thing that came to my mind was that they made a mistake," she said.

That's because Kathy has no family history.

But Dr. Mark Shachner says that's a myth.

"Most people who do have a family history it's just a coincidence that they also have breast cancer," said Dr. Mark Shachner, FACS Director, Women's Wellness and Diagnostic Center, Coral Springs Medical Center.

Seventy percent of women diagnosed have no known risk factors.

A second myth is that all women have a one-in-eight chance of getting the disease.

Related Content

"One in eight of women by the time they're 85 will have had breast cancer," said Dr. Shachner.

A woman in her thirties only has a one in 233 risk.

Myth number three: A mastectomy is better than a lumpectomy.

Not true.

"We can say that if you get a lumpectomy versus having your breast removed that you'll do better as far as cancer recurrence is concerned," he said.

Another myth: Smaller breasts decrease your risk of breast cancer. Size doesn't matter.

The last myth to dispel is that breast cancer always shows up as a lump.

"Really, most breast cancers probably aren't preceded by a lump," he concluded.

You should also look for redness, swelling, dimpling, nipple pain or skin thickening.

Kathy did feel a lump, and it saved her life.

"If I hadn't found my cancer when I did, I would be living a very different story," she said.

Instead, she's cancer-free.

The annual Puget Sound Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure kicks off this Sunday morning at Qwest Field. There's still time to register for the events ranging from a kids walk, 5K walks and runs and a wheel chair race.

Read or Share this story: