Heather Gray follows up last month’s piece on male breast cancer with facts, figures, and a potentially life-saving video.
Each year, close to 2, 500 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 400 of them will die.
Because of the misconception that breast cancer is a “woman’s disease” and that men can’t get it. Doctors don’t always think to check for it and men either don’t think or are too embarrassed to report symptoms to their doctors.
This scenario is further complicated by the numbers. 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year with the assistance of mammography. With men getting diagnosed at a much smaller percentage, mammography is not an ideal screening intervention for men.
As a result, men are reliant on self-exam and must know how to do them properly in order to be effective.
Bret Miller, author of I Am a Male Breast Cancer Survivor, assists The National Consortium of Breast Centers in educating men by completing a self-exam on camera.
Dr. Clifford Hudis, Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, joined Bret on Katie where he talked more about male breast cancer. He recommended that men perform self-exams on a monthly basis. Additionally, he identified risk factors as well as warning signs:
- Strong family history
- Men who’ve inherited the BRCA gene
- Obesity and being overweight
- An estrogen link for those with a history of liver disease
- Men who’ve survived Hodgkin’s Disease as children
- A lump, hard knot, or thickening in breast, chest, or underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A dimpling, puckering, or reddening in the skin of the breast
- A change in the appearance of the nipple.
We all know about the stereotype of men never going to the doctor or of men who don’t tell their doctors important information. The risk for this happening with men who are showing signs of breast cancer are particularly high, increasing the risk that the cancer will be found too late for effective treatment.
If you, or a man who love, has these risks or warning signs, take them seriously and talk to your doctor. It may be one of the hardest conversations you may have but not harder than hearing your doctor say “You have breast cancer.”
For more information, join Bret and Breast Cancer Answers on a Google Hangout on Thursday, April 10th
Join Bret and 200 male and female survivors of breast cancer for a special photo shoot as part of Tops Off NYC. They’ll be raising money for the documentary, Stepping Out of the Pink Shadow, which will be connecting viewers to the facts and stories behind male breast cancer. Here’s the trailer for this important video: