While most people commonly focus their attention to breast cancer awareness for women, they tend to forget or are unaware that men are at risk of breast cancer too.
“Because only 1 percent of all breast cancer affects men, it goes somewhat unnoticed by that gender due to the fact that they feel it is a ‘women’s issue’ and are less likely to concern themselves with this issue,” said Dianne Huggins, a community representative for the American Cancer Society.
ACS reported that even though breast cancer is a 100 times more common among women, there will be 1,720 new cases of male breast cancer this year alone.
ACS statistics also state that of the 41,430 people who will die from breast cancer in the United States, 460 of them will be men.
Tondria Carter is the registration and accounting chair for the FAMU Relay for Life planning committee, and she continues to keep herself updated on breast cancer knowledge.
“It’s very rare; it is a 5 percent chance,” Carter said.
The National Cancer Institute said just like women, males with breast cancer have lumps in their chest they also can feel. But men have the choice of taking several different biopsy tests, such as a needle, core and excisional biopsy, that will examine their breasts.
The NCI states that in the exams, doctors remove cells, tissues, or lumps to view them under a microscope to determine if anything is cancerous.
The NCI also explain that the survival for men with breast cancer is similar to that of women.
The diagnoses are the same, NCI states, but because breast cancer for men is sometimes diagnosed at a later stage, the disease in men may be less likely to be cured.
Researchers at the NCI said men at any age can develop breast cancer, but it is usually found in men between the ages of 60 and 70 years old.
However, experts at the NCI said men younger than 60 still need to focus on ways to prevent the cancer, especially if they have breast cancer in their family history.
Jeremy Caldwell, 20, an electronic engineering technology student from Chicago, said his mother died of breast cancer. He is one of the few who is aware that he too could be at risk of male breast cancer. Caldwell said he knows that since he has a family history of breast cancer, it is vital to regularly get check ups.
“I take great precautions and get test ran on me every year so I can prevent any kind of cancer because it does run in my family,” Caldwell said.
The ACS warns that all male breast cancers start close to the nipple and to be aware of the Paget’s Disease, which is where the breast cancer spreads to the skin of the nipple causing the nipple to be itchy, crusty, scaly or red.
Huggins also said that many men are not aware of male breast cancer because women are often the main targets in promoting breast cancer awareness. Huggins said she believes that everyone should be given the same amount of awareness because everyone is at risk.
“The predominant push in regards to education in this area has been toward women, because that is the area we can do the most amount of good number wise. Knowing your own body and how it changes is key for all type of individuals,” Huggins said.
Additional information on male breast cancer can be found at www.cancer.org.