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Breast Cancer: Men Beware

by Lori Sciame October 2nd, 2013 | Health Observance, Men's Health
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a common misconception that men do not need to worry about developing breast cancer.  On the contrary, the American Cancer society outlines five types of breast cancer that can (and do) affect males. These cancers mainly affect older men, but the disease can occur even at young ages. Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, take time to educate yourself about this disease, and how it can strike both genders, not just females.

A Quick Look at Prevalence 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the potential risk of a male developing breast cancer. They state that of 100 cases of breast cancer, 1 will be in a male.  In addition, they find that most of these cases occur in men 60 – 70 years of age.  Although these facts may seem to support the notion that a young man can say, “breast cancer won’t happen to me,” in contrast, they prove that men do develop breast cancer, although at a much lower rate than women.

Do You Want to be the 1 in 100?

About 10 years ago, I knew a man in his late 20’s who was the general manager for a local AA baseball team.  He loved his job, and he excelled at it. He seemed destined to move up in the field of professional baseball management fairly quickly.  However, he died during the off season from an aggressive form of breast cancer.  As you can imagine, our small town felt sadness and shock at the loss of this outgoing man, and some refused to believe that a “female” disease had killed him.

As a testament to his character, before he died, this courageous man spread the word about the dangers of breast cancer in men.  He stated that he had waited too long to have his strange symptoms checked out, and he urged other men to become educated on the signs and symptoms. This young man may have fit into the category of “1 in 100” males to develop breast cancer, yet the truth stings – his vibrant life should not have ended so soon.

Recognizing the Signs of Breast Cancer in Men

MayoClinic.com, a trusted medical resource, outlines the possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men.  They include:

  • A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue
  • Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
  • Changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward
  • Discharge from your nipple

Of course a man should see his physician any time he feels something is not right in his breast, especially if the problem lasts for quite  while.  And never feel weird about bringing concerns about breast cancer to the doctor.  Please learn from the example of the man I described earlier.

Treatment and Outcome

Treatment for male breast cancer depends on the type of cancer diagnosed, but in essence, the treatments for both men and women are similar.  What matters is that the cancer is caught in the earliest possible stages to boost the chances of a positive outcome.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.