Although much more rare than breast cancer in women, breast cancer does occur in men too. On top of the stress any cancer diagnosis brings, men diagnosed with breast cancer often report feeling more shame and stigma for having what is often thought of as a “women’s disease.” Additionally, many men feel disconnected from the pink ribbons and “pink-washing” of breast cancer awareness, and the primarily female support networks of patients and survivors. This has led to the creation of the male breast cancer awareness ribbon, which is pink with blue, like the one shown above. Read on for how to connect with other male breast cancer survivors, and information about risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of male breast cancer. Please reach out if you or a man in your life would like to share about your experience with male breast cancer.
Men Do Get Breast Cancer, Even Me “Men don’t get breast cancer, right? Especially males like me who have always taken pride in taking decent care of oneself. Males like me don’t get breast cancer who have spent 24 years selling to medical professionals in the pharmaceutical healthcare industry.
Males like me don’t get breast cancer who carefully invest and plan so well for retirement and now active as an Independent Medicare Healthcare Consultant.
Darn! Guess what? It happens and yes, why not me? Men do get breast cancer, even me. Thank God for my wife who has been so supportive!” Read More
Men and Breast Cancer
Read quotes from the men in our community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Honoring You “Gary’s cheery disposition and optimism infected those around him. He was determined to never give up, and he espoused a healthy diet and regular exercise, not just to give himself extra time, but for better quality of life. Gary knew breast cancer is not just about men or women, rather it was more about beating cancer itself. He had just been appointed to the Board of Advisors for ProjectLifeMBC, a survivor initiative based in San Francisco, for those with metastatic breast cancer. He was a diligent advocate for all guys with breast cancer.” Read More.
From Around The Web
“MBCC shares stories from male breast cancer survivors all over the world. Learn more here and find resources for men and their families navigating through what is usually a women’s only club. MBCC also honors lives lost in the “In Memoriam” section. Our survivors want students to know every individual is his/her own best advocate for their bodies. We participate in events around the world to raise awareness of male breast cancer. We attend conferences, so we can become more knowledgeable and advocate. Until we educate everyone, including the medical community concerning the need for more testing and clinical trials focusing on men with breast cancer, our mission continues to be an uphill battle.” Read More.
“When I was diagnosed, I had no idea. I thought it was a woman’s disease, and too many other men believe that to this day. ” — Tom Kennedy, breast cancer survivor
Men rarely get the same reminders from doctors and public service ads on tv to do regular self-exams for breast cancer. And, even if they do notice a lump, they are less likely to think of breast cancer as a possible explanation, oftentimes when men do get diagnosed with breast cancer it has already progressed to a later stage. Read More.
Currently, about 1 in every 833 men develop breast cancer compared to 1 in every 8 women. Here are a few risk factors that may increase a man’s likelihood of breast cancer:
History of cancer treatment
Heavy alcohol use
“Klinefelter syndrome is a rare genetic problem that is associated with a 20-30% increased risk in male breast cancer. This syndrome occurs when someone assigned male at birth is born with an extra X chromosome, resulting in 47 chromosomes instead of 46. It is often represented as 47 (XXY).
Because they have a Y chromosome, children with this syndrome develop stereotypical male characteristics and genitals. But the extra X chromosome associated with Klinefelter syndrome often causes smaller testicles, enlarged breasts, and possibly impaired fertility.” Read More.
Despite being much less prevalent in males, men should pay attention for many of the same signs and symptoms of breast cancer that women are often urged to check for. This includes:
Alump in the breast – this is usually hard, painless and does not move around within the breast
The nipple turning inwards
Fluid oozing from the nipple (nipple discharge), which may be streaked with blood
A sore or rash around the nipple that does not go away
The nipple or surrounding skin becoming hard, red or swollen
Small bumps in the armpit (swollen glands)
Men may be inclined to avoid discussing family medical history with female relatives, especially when it comes to more personal areas, like the breasts. But just like for women, it is important to know your family history since men can also inherit the BRCA genes that make someone more susceptible to breast cancer. Read More.