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World Cancer Day: Tips for prevention

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As we recognize World Cancer Day today, it’s important to remember that one-third of cancer deaths worldwide are tied to lifestyle and diet, making them largely preventable.

Dr. Judy Garber, director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, provides some perspective, and highlights some of the steps individuals can take to reduce their cancer risk.

 

 

If a breast lump is painful, is it not cancer?

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Beth Overmoyer, MD, FACP

Many women who discover a lump in their breast confide in a friend or family member before talking to their doctor. They may be told that if a breast lump hurts or is sore, it probably isn’t cancer. To find out whether this urban legend holds any truth, we checked with Beth Overmoyer, MD, FACP, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers.

If a lump in the breast does not feel sore or tender, does that mean it isn’t cancer?

Dr. Overmoyer: Between 2 and 7 percent of patients with a painful lump in their breast will be diagnosed with breast cancer. A lump is usually hard or firm compared with surrounding breast tissue. The presence of pain should not be reassuring – anyone who notices a new lump in her (or his) breast should contact a doctor. It’s unclear why some breast cancers are painful and others aren’t, but pain is not an indication of cancer being more or less aggressive. The most likely reason is that the cancer is irritating the nerves within the breast, but the true cause isn’t known. Read more