On Father's Day week, let's know more about Male Breast Cancer (MBC). As men also have breast tissue, they could develop breast diseases such as cancer. "Although men are at risk at any age, the majority of MBC cases are diagnosed in men between the ages of 60-70 years" (2). It's rare in men but it happens! According to CBCF, "fewer than one per cent of all breast cancers occur in men." In 2013, "an estimated 23,800 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 200 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men." An alarming fact, though, is that "despite the small number of cases, breast cancer in men is not well understood, stigmatized, and can be mis-diagnosed or diagnosed late" (1).
What do men have to look for, then? The most common signs are:
- painless lump near the nipple, or
- discharge from the nipple
Luckily for men, as they have less fat tissue, lumps can be easily detected but men may ignore early signs due to their lack of knowledge of the symptoms! So learn and educate other men in your life. Same with women's, early detection is vital. Men should seek medical assistance upon detecting the following:
- lumps/thickening of the skin in the breast area,
- nipple changes or discharge from the nipple,
- redness of the skin or nipple,
- skin changes,
- dimpling or puckering, and
- swelling or pain in the breast are or under the arm.
Risk factors for MBC include:
- higher than average levels of estrogen,
- age (mostly after 60), and
- testicular conditions.
What to do to reduce the risk?
- regular exercise,
- healthier body weight,
- quitting smoking, and
- limiting alcohol consumption.
Don't forget that men, too, have to know how their breasts look like and feel in order to notice any abnormal changes if they to occur.
An important point to keep in mind regarding MBC is that men diagnosed with breast cancer "may feel some stigma or they may feel very alone" (1). Looking at the bright side, there is plenty of resources on the CBCF and the web about information and support. (For example, http://www.willow.org/men.) This video is by Herb Wagner from Male Breast Cancer Organization in his relentless effort to educate men on MBC; you got to admire this man's courage to wear pink and be an advocate for breast cancer and the organization's logo "A man's pink, adding blue to the pink":
1- Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF): http://www.cbcf.org/central/AboutBreastCancerMain/AboutBreastCancer/Pages/gender_men.aspx
2- Male Breast Cancer (MBC): http://www.malebreastcancer.ca/About_Us_PZA0.html
- Male Breast Cancer Organization: http://www.malebreastcancer.ca/PINK_WELL_CHALLENGE.html
and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v829f9Y_nG8