Friday, October 24, 2014
Can Men Get Breast Cancer?
I walked up to the pink booth at the health fair. You know, the one decorated with pink booklets about breast cancer, pink cancer ribbons and non stop pink, pink, pink. After all, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. And its color is pink - pink for women.
My spouse's mother is a breast cancer survivor - times two. A couple of her sisters had breast cancer. One of his cousins (other side of the family) is also a two time survivor. That's one heck of a lot of breast cancer.
I walked up to the woman manning (sorry) the booth, and asked:
Is my spouse at risk for breast cancer?
YES, was her response.
And not only that, this breast cancer support program, Encore, had several clients who were men.
I am passing along what this woman told me.
Listen up, men in this situation, and the women in their lives. (I am not a health care professional, and this isn't health advice - just passing along what this breast cancer advocate told me.)
Men, I have a feeling you aren't told this by your doctors, but I am here to tell you this today. If you have female relatives who have had breast cancer (especially more than one) you may be at risk. (And, even if you don't).
-There aren't male mammograms, but males can and should do the same self examination as women, paying special attention to the nipples and under the arms. You must learn what your "normal" breast feels like.
-Breast cancer in men tends to be more aggressive than in women, so if you find something suspicious, get to a doctor right away.
Tell your doctor if you have a family history. He should include this in your exam, along with the "male" areas.
-And don't be put off by that pink. Although Encore may be run by the YWCA, it accepts men, too.
Sometimes, pink is good.
And education is even better.
Breast cancer isn't just for women.