Surgeon Offers Four Little-Known Facts About Breast Cancer

Dr. Andrew Shapiro

More than a quarter of a million American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, board-certified surgery specialist and medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Center at Wellington Regional Medical Center, Dr. Andrew J. Shapiro, wants Palm Beach County residents to be informed not only about the disease, but also the best treatment options in the area.

Here are four little known facts about breast cancer that people should know:

Breast implants and explants: While implants don’t necessarily cause cancer, the FDA is aware of 19 cases of squamous cell carcinoma in scar tissue that forms around breast implants, as well as a link between implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), an uncommon cancer of the immune system.

Mammograms are not perfect: The density of the breast affects the efficacy of the mammogram. A false-negative mammogram looks normal even though breast cancer is present. Overall, screening mammograms miss about 1 in 8 breast cancers. That’s why self-exams and ultrasounds are also important.

Left over right: According to a study published by the National Cancer Institute’s SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) program, 50.8 percent of breast cancers occurred on the left side, while 49.2 percent occurred on the right.

Men and breast cancer: While it is much less common in men than women, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation states that about 2,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men this year. Although most male breast cancers are palpable when diagnosed, there is often a delay in seeking care due to a lack of awareness of male breast cancer and embarrassment. This delay can lead to eventual diagnosis at a more advanced stage and potentially impact survival.

Shapiro encourages anyone with pressing concerns about breast health to contact their medical health provider or seek medical assistance immediately.