October is breast cancer awareness month, a time when it’s as common to see pink ribbons and apparel as it is to smell pumpkin spice at the convenience store’s coffee island.
While there is some controversy around some breast cancer fundraisers because of how organizations allocate funds, awareness itself is important. It wasn’t long ago some of us learned that men can and do get breast cancer.
In his article Symptoms and Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer, Dr. Brian Wu states:
” [T]here is a good reason why men don’t tend to worry much about this disease. According to statistics from Breast Cancer.org, male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all reported cases and a man’s lifetime chance is 1 in 1000 (assuming he is not in a high risk group). But rare is not the same thing as impossible. The organization predicts that in 2016, 2,600 men will receive this diagnosis.”
Armin Brott, in his article How Angelina Jolie Caused an Increase in Breast Cancer Surgeries for Men, says:
“[W]hat most people don’t know is that one percent of breast cancers occur in men. And besides having to endure the stigma of having a “women’s disease,” men with breast cancer typically have worse outcomes than women.”
Christian Lyons bares his breast cancer experience to remind us it happens to men in his post, The Truth About Male Breast Cancer. He warns:
“The experience opened my eyes not only to the process women experience, but to the fact that male breast cancer is not a joke. As men, we must put aside our egos and preconceived ideas that men don’t get breast cancer, and perform the same kind of exams that women are urged to perform on a regular basis. No one likes the idea that we might be diagnosed with cancer, and for that reason alone we may ignore the warning signs or laugh at the very thought of it. Maybe we think it’s a sign of weakness, a chink in our masculine armor. The reality is, however, that men are susceptible to breast cancer.”
Betty Pettigrew wrote the article KISS’ Peter Criss: Rocker and Breast Cancer Survivor, in which she summarized Criss’ interview with FOX’s In The Zone. He told them that he felt that this was his “time to give back” and to raise awareness to breast cancer in men. He wants men to feel it’s “okay to get this checked out” and to no longer feel the stigma that is attached to men talking about their breast cancer.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Do you have a story about male breast cancer that could be helpful to others? How was the experience different than you had seen in women? What made you feel stigmatized and what could have helped? Where did you find support? What do you have to tell your brothers, friends, and sons about your experience? What do you want the women in your life to know about your experience, your feelings, and thoughts?
If those don’t inspire you, here are some of my other Calls for Submissions:
- Human Trafficking
- The Language of Fatherless Scenarios
- Plastic Bags
- How can Good Parents Effectively Reduce Fatherlessness?
- Coping with Chronic Pain
- Men Saying ‘No More’ to Societal Expectations
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