A male friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that he had to get a mammogram.
Let me say that again: a MALE friend had a mammogram. They found a lump. The doctor said it was probably just fatty tissue. He’s fine, it was fatty tissue. When he posted about the results though, another guy questioned why a man would get a mammogram. The second guy didn’t know that men could get breast cancer. Here’s the deal: Yes, both men and women get breast cancer.
Due to my friend’s friend lack of knowledge on the subject, I figured it might be a good idea to write a little more, and get some people educated. There are a ton of sources out there for finding out about male breast cancer, but as this hits close to home, I want to rant/inform a bit.
First, a little more about why this hits close to home.
My family history with Breast Cancer (who’s had it):
Mother’s mother died from it.
Mother’s sister (two of them) diagnosed with it. One died of it; the other had a mastectomy. I believe she’s cancer free now.
Mother diagnosed in 2001. Cancer free since then.
Mother’s brother diagnosed but now cancer free.
That’s not counting all the other cancers that have hit my mom’s family. It’s so prevalent in my mom’s family that I’ve been told it’s in my best interest to get a DNA test to find out if I carry the gene. I haven’t gotten one done yet as the test is sort of inconclusive. More on that another time.
So, breast cancer in men. How often does it occur? 1 in 1000 men get breast cancer. That is far fewer men than women, but it does happen. The American Cancer Society predicts that 2,600 new case of invasive breast cancer in men will be diagnosed and about 440 men will die of breast cancer in 2016. That information, and a lot of other good information can be found here.
I looked up the numbers for women, and it is staggering in comparison, but that is not why we are here. We are here to inform our fathers, brothers and other male people in our lives that yes, it does happen to you, too.
Look, here’s what it comes down to: if you feel a lump in your breast, or if your partner finds a lump in your breast, DO NOT take it lightly, even if you’re a man. Have a doctor tell you there’s nothing to worry about, and have a mammogram confirm that there’s nothing to worry about, if the doctor suggests it. The alternative SUCKS. Cancer’s a bitch. Early detection is key. Find it early and doctors have an easier time treating it.
Being a man doesn’t mean you can’t get breast cancer. Being a man doesn’t mean ignoring the lump. Being a man means understanding that you are human and that some of the same things that affect women can affect you.
Don’t be stupid. If you find a lump, have a doctor check you out.
I feel that this was more of a rant than an informative rant, so please do yourself a favor, check out the American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer in Men, page for more information. I liked it earlier for the statistics, but this is the home page for Male Breast Cancer. Check it out, read it and keep yourself safe. And, as a final note, I am getting my own mammogram on April 19, because I know I need to make sure I’m ok.