Tag Archives: Breast Cancer

Cancer Gene Test

I recently wrote about how male breast cancer actually exists. During my rant, I mentioned that I was advised to get a gene test that could show if I had the mutation for breast cancer. I said the test was inconclusive and that I would discuss it another time.

Well, here we are.

First and foremost, this is not to convince someone not to get the testing. This is my own personal mind warring with itself on the best course of action. It has to do with me and me alone. That is my disclaimer.

A gene test exists that may be able to tell me if I have the marker for breast cancer. Here are my problems with it:

It’s inconclusive. My mom had one done and her test results say that it’s negative. But it’s not negative as in she doesn’t have the marker and won’t get breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2001, and is currently in remission.

The negative means one of two things. 1) she doesn’t have the marker or 2) she has the marker but the test wasn’t able to detect it.

Yeah…

There’s more.

If I were to get the test done and it came back negative, there is a chance I will get breast cancer and there is a chance I won’t get breast cancer.

If the test is positive, there is a chance I will get breast cancer and there is a chance I won’t get breast cancer.

Really?

My mom had the test done in 2011. Not that long ago. Yes, I’m sure there have been advances in the technology, but there’s a website that states they still can’t find all the mutations. And the thing is, I have no idea what I would do if I received a positive test result.

A positive test result for some women means double mastectomy. Some women believe that to be the course of action. Each woman given the positive test result should consult with her doctor, and with herself, on what the best course of action is for her. I am not here to say one thing is better than the other. It is 100% up to what each woman feels is right for her.

I am undecided.

I feel as if I’m too young to have a mastectomy if I’m at a high risk. I also really don’t have the money to get decent breast augmentation if I had to get a double mastectomy. And yes, I would probably get augmentation as I like my breasts.

I don’t like ‘maybe’ as an answer when it comes to my health.

Cancer is scary and not knowing is scary, but in the case of the gene test, even with results, I still might not have a definite answer. I don’t like maybes when it comes to my health. My biggest worry is that I’ll get the test, get a negative and still be as uninformed as before. Seriously, that’s not acceptable.

I was diagnosed in 2006 with MS because I wouldn’t take “Oh, everything is fine” as an answer. What am I supposed to do with a test result that says, “We don’t know”?

In the case of a gene cancer test a negative is a ‘we don’t know’ and that’s where I am right now.

Does the test make things any better or easier to understand or decide? It doesn’t. And I don’t accept that. Therefore, for the moment, I’m probably not going to get the screening done.

As I said, if you decide to, that is your decision. I am not here to discourage you from doing what you think is best. It’s your health, do what you feel is best for you.

Incidentally, I had a mammogram today and it came back normal. So there’s that.

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Breast Cancer in Men

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.

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