Talk about breast cancer to the men in your life.
Is no secret that breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women. But what many people don’t know is that there are over 2700 cases of invasive breast cancer expected to be diagnosed in men in the US this year alone.
The reality is that breast cancer affects plenty of men too - so why aren’t we talking to them about it? Male breast cancer is infrequently included in awareness efforts and testimonies, despite the prevalence of breast cancer.
In the United States, one in eight women may get invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, proving that women are disproportionately afflicted by the disease. However, there is a chance that this lethal cancer will also strike men. The issue is that women have been educated to be on the lookout for breast cancer signs by family, peers, doctors, and even popular culture, while men’s breasts are largely ignored.
Although men have less breast tissue, it’s still there. Because less than 0.1 percent of men (1 in 1,000) are diagnosed with breast cancer, men aren’t taught to take precautions and identify symptoms of breast cancer.
The two main risk factors for both men and women who develop breast cancer are aging and genetic abnormalities. Men between the ages of 60 and 70 who have a family history of breast cancer are more likely to be at risk. When breast cancer is eventually detected, both men and women experience identical symptoms. Most diagnoses of male breast cancer occur when a man discovers a lump in his breast. Unfortunately, some men put off visiting the doctor until they experience more severe symptoms.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic shows that only three in five men go the doctor for their annual check up, and just over 40 percent go to the doctor when they fear they have a serious medical condition. But if men don’t know the symptoms of breast cancer or aren’t even aware that they can get breast cancer, the chances of them seeking medical attention for their breast tissue is slim. This study also gave merit to a widely accepted stereotype — men go to the doctor to appease their partners or family members. 19 percent of the men surveyed admitted they will go the doctor so their significant other or loved one will stop nagging them. Treatment for male breast cancer is the same treatment doctors use for women. Women can encourage their male partners, friends, or family members to accompany them during their annual mammograms. Having someone there who has gone through it before can be comforting, and make the situation less scary for the men in your life.
So if ever there was a reason to nag the men in your life, this is it.