It’s natural to focus on women when we think of breast cancer. But we shouldn’t forget that men can develop this condition too.
A recent study published in the Journal of Oncology compared trends in breast cancer in 2,665 men and 459,846 women over the last 40 years.
Some of the important points that they raised:
- The incidence rate of breast cancer in men is less than 1% that of women.
- Men are often in their 60s and 70s when diagnosed.
- Men present with later stages of the condition, often with spread of the disease outside of the breast.
- Men had less surgical and radiation therapies than women, but similar rates of chemotherapy and hormone treatments.
- Men had a 72% chance of survival to 5 years post-diagnosis, compared with 78% in women.
The news isn’t all “worse” though. The researchers found that men who had their cancer diagnosed at the same stage and received the appropriate treatment, had a better chance of surviving their breast cancer than women.
Since breast cancer is still relatively rare in men, patients and physicians alike are less likely to consider it a possibility when men develop a breast lump or other symptoms. The recommendation for screenings in women certainly leads to many cases of breast cancer being caught in early stages. This is not the case in men, however, who are not regularly screened.
How Can You Help Yourself If You Are A Man?
- Seek a physician’s advice as soon as possible if you develop a breast lump or other suggestive symptoms.
- Talk to your doctor about screening options if you have a family history of breast cancer.
Men tend to ignore symptoms for longer than women, and an additional problem is the isolation they tend to feel when diagnosed with breast cancer. In a world where this condition is so much more common in women, it’s not difficult to understand why men feel unsupported when services tend to all be geared towards women.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,140 new cases of breast cancer will arise in men in this country this year. They estimate that 450 of these men will die. Tough statistics to see.
Although it is still not advised that men should have regular screenings like women, persuading the man in your life to seek help as soon as possible might just save his life.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Remember that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so if you haven’t already done so, please consider speaking to your doctor about screening, or even persuade a loved one to seek advice.
Feel like helping others? If you literally have $2 to spare (or more!), please consider donating to the Susan G. Komen “3 Day For The Cure” – Cathy Miller is about to embark upon her 8th of these walks in the fight against cancer. She still needs a wee bit more by way of donations to allow her to undertake the walk, so dig around under the sofa or in that old never-used-teapot! Any spare few dollars that you can find will be massively welcomed! Visit her page to make a small donation today. Your few dollars will make a world of difference – she is “almost there”! Needs about $445 more to reach her minimum amount to be able to do this magnificent walk. If you can spare a few dollars, you’ll be helping hugely!