Speaking of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would pass along a story of what I did recently.
Where I worked, we recently had a Health Fair and one of the tables that was set up was for information that was provided by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. One of the pamphlets they sent was called “Men Can Get Breast Cancer, Too, which I thought would be good to focus on since this is a predominantly male manufacturing plant. I thought it would be a very fluffed over thing, because surely the guys know that since both males and females have breast tissue that we are both at risk (*granted, their chance is significantly lower – just 1.3 cases per 100,000 folks). Boy, was I wrong!
I found out that SO MANY of them had never even heard that it was a possibility. In fact, one guy even told me that his doctor had told him that guys *couldn’t* get breast cancer. Holy Misinformation! After the first couple of guys told me they were unaware, I decided I was stopping every guy (even pulling some back over!) and making sure he had at least heard of the chance it could happen. I explained to them that while their chances are low, if they have a family history, males or females, they should get checked. And that they should be aware, and not dismiss, potential early detection signs, like changes in the nipple, lumps under the skin in the chest or underarm area, or just changes in shape or size of the breast.
On a positive note, there was one guy that HAD been screened for breast cancer because many of the women in his family had had cancer, so he was aware of the need to check himself. I’m not saying “screening”, because routine screening isn’t recommended due to the low occurrence. That it is why it is so important to share the need for guys to self-check, if there is a family history, and to just be aware otherwise. It’s important because men are diagnosed at a later stage, when it has more often already spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. It’s important because it can be treated easier with early detection.
Fact: In 2016, it is expected that there will be 2600 new incidences of men being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 440 male deaths. It’s not a high number, but, it’s still 440 fathers, sons, brothers, uncles and cousins and we want them around. Please help make sure they are aware.
So much of this info came from the American Cancer Society “Cancer Fact and Figures 2016” pdf.
And for those of you that know men with breast cancer, surviors, or their supporters, there is a forum on the Susan G. Komen site to share stories and experiences with others that they may be interested in checking out, too.
I hope this helps some of you that may not have realized this was a possibility, and give you some info on how to broach the subject with the fellas in your lives, too.