Did you know this fact? Men can and DO get breast cancer too? So many people look at breast cancer as a ‘women’s health issue’ but in all actuality, it impacts both women AND men.
With October being breast cancer awareness month, it’s our job at The Breast Cancer Charities of America to educate and empower both men and women to be knowledgeable about the symptoms and what can be done to prevent and survive breast cancer. That’s why on our website, we provide a vast series of educational resources which also includes a portion on male breast cancer.
Male breast cancer is much less common, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses, however it’s a very sensitive subject for men to discuss and most men don’t think it can impact them. Imagine a strong ‘macho-man’ suddenly finding a lump in their breast. I’m sure that their first thought isn’t, “it must be breast cancer”. The number of health fairs we’ve gone to with this educational message and men will stop in their tracks when they see the words, “Did you know men can get breast cancer?”
Similar to breast cancer in women, male breast cancer is very treatable when caught early…but it’s all about being educated and proactively taking control of your health and lifestyle that makes the difference.
Ways for men to reduce their risk of breast cancer include:
- Supplementing with Vitamin D
- Limit or eliminate alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat fruits & veggies
- Exercise daily
- Stress Management
Male breast cancer is more commonly found in older men between the ages of 60 and 70, however it can occur at any age. Many men will ask, what type of breast cancer is common in men. Nearly all male breast cancers are found in the male milk ducts. Ductal carcinoma is the most common type of male breast cancer.
One other question that we will hear from men about breast cancer is how do they detect it when there aren’t annual exams or mammograms specifically looking for breast cancer. This is where we strongly encourage men to also know their bodies. Similar to the items we talk about women’s health, a man needs to know his body and be aware of any changes. Typically, male breast cancer is detected by the male first recognizing a hard lump near the nipple area. As mentioned before, so many men will put off the ‘doctor inquiry’ into these sort of found lumps thinking that it could never be breast cancer. That is in part why mortality rates of men with breast cancer tend to be higher as their breast cancer diagnosis is typically put off and found at a later date when the breast cancer stage has become more aggressive.
So men, and women, know your bodies. Ladies, be proactive in teaching your husbands, sons and brothers that breast cancer IS something that can impact them. Education is key and making men knowledgeable about this disease is something we all need to do to help in the fight against breast cancer.