We’ve all been “made aware” of the insidious disease, breast cancer. Our mothers, sisters, wives, friends have suffered, and, if lucky, conquered the cell mutation that affected nearly 300,000 women in the U.S. in 2013 alone, according to The American Cancer Society.
But while we’re marching, donating, and researching to find a cure, are we aware that men get breast cancer too? Many believe the cute pink ribbon doesn’t convey awareness of breast cancer in both genders.
Cancer.gov (lumps, redness and swollen breast skin, nipple retraction, or dimpling of the skin (common symptoms). Sadly, many do not seek medical attention until late stages due to the female-focused awareness and related breast cancer misconceptions.
For the year 2013, The American Cancer Society expected 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men. Over 400 of these men will die.
Keep in mind, these numbers don’t even include simple lump removals, or a quick round of radiation. These are male victims of invasive cancers; the hungry little cells that attack other organs and body parts (known as metastasis), and force men into chemo, radiation, even mastectomy.
Known as a “rare” disease, male breast cancer hides under a rock while the world learns of the female breast cancer fight and celebrates the survivors.
Women have been educated on self-exams, mammograms, preventative measures, and likely culprits and causes. Now we must clarify the nature of this cancer as a human disease, and include all people.
As with women, aging increases the likelihood of breast cancer, most often diagnosed between ages 60 to 70. Our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers are susceptible to the same risk factors as women, plus a couple extra. Breastcancer.org lists our risks as:
- Radiation exposure (look up Camp Lejeune for a scare)
- High levels of estrogen (from liver issues, obesity, pesticide exposure, etc.)
- Family history of breast cancer
- Inherited gene mutations (BRCA2)
- Klinefelter’s Syndrome (men born with XXY chromosomes instead of XY)
Per Cancer.gov, the prognosis for humans with breast cancer is similar between men and women and is based on certain factors such as:
- The stage of the cancer “The” type of breast cancer.
- Estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor levels in the tumor tissue.
- Whether the cancer is also found in the other breast.
- The patient’s age and general health.
The prognosis can be greatly improved with information, so please share this knowledge and encourage the men in your life to watch for lumps and changes in breast and under-arm areas. Breast tissue is a component of the human form. Let’s protect all of ours – male and female – and hopefully save some lives.
For more information – please consider these links:
We at United Patients Group recommend to NOT put a screening off due to fear. Regular check-ups can detect early stages in both men and women.
SALUTING IMAGE: Special thank you to Jim Fontella. Jim was based at Camp Lejeune in 1966 and 1967. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. We salute you!