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Man With Breast Cancer Says, “Don’t Be Embarrassed…It’s Too Important”

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Research into Breast Cancer in Men
The world’s largest study into the genes that cause breast cancer in men shows similarities with female breast cancer, but identifies differences that could potentially lead to treatments specific to males. Results of the study conducted by Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are published in the journal PLoS Genetics.

The research team studied 433 men with breast cancer and found that among the 12 most common genes that contribute to breast cancer in females, five add risk in men, although at a lesser rate.

“It is exciting that this study is already producing results because we know so little about male breast cancer,” said Professor Anthony Swerdlow from the ICR. “We hope that this work will provide us with a much better understanding of the disease and allow us to find ways to prevent it.”

Another study presented at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium revealed that, on average, men are older than their female counterparts when diagnosed with breast cancer and frequently have more lymph node involvement. Study authors suggest this may be due to a “lack of awareness” among physicians and patients.

This study included information on 2,475 men and 393,259 women with breast cancer. While the average age for men at diagnosis was 67, it was 61 for the women. Lymph nodes were involved in 32 percent of the men, versus 22 percent of the women. The study did not include information on risk factors like BRCA or family history.

“While the study itself has some limitations, the authors confirm what has been shown historically. Breast cancer in men occurs later in life, is frequently associated with a delay in diagnosis, and is commonly associated with lymph node involvement,” said Gail S. Lebovic, MD, a member of the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium News Planning Team and past president of the American Society of Breast Disease. “Although breast cancer is rare in men, these findings demonstrate that it is critically important to continue to raise awareness about the occurrence of breast cancer in men.”

Cancer Takeaways
This article was prompted by an email I received from someone who was had spent years trying to get more information regarding male breast cancer. That really got to me. Indeed, information specific to male breast cancer is hard to come by. However, there are a few takeaways:

  • 1. Everyone should do what they can to educate themselves about the known causes of cancer, and make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • 2. No matter how good those lifestyle choices may be, don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that cancer can’t happen to you.
  • 3. If you’re a man, don’t assume that you cannot get breast cancer.
  • 4. Whether you’re a man or a woman, be familiar with your own body. A lump in the chest area should be checked out so you know what you’re dealing with. If it is cancer, the earlier you begin treatment, the better your chances of a positive outcome. The good news is that most breast/chest lumps turn out to be benign.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so please share information and support wherever you can.

Related Reading
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
Breast Cancer: It’s Not Just for Women
5 Things about Breast Cancer You Should Take to Heart
10 Odd Things to Say to Someone with Breast Cancer

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Sources: Diane Radford MD, FACS, FRCSEd; Dr. Michael Musci, medical oncologist from Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers; Medscape News Today

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7:31AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

MarilynNoFwdsD. is right. Alternative treatments work as SUPPLEMENTS to traditional treatments.

7:29AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

>>It is irresponsible for anyone (Christa L) to recommend reading books on alternative treatments when they have already been diagnosed with cancer!

4:46AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Thank you Debra M. for I have weak inter net connections. But I will take your advice. Bear Hug!

10:41PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Sorry, that was meant to be "macho", typed it wrong.

10:40PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Never mind the "I'm a man I can hack it mucho bs" mentality, seek medical attention. Thanks.

10:34PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STORY! Breast cancer happens to MEN TOO!PLease don't WASTE TIME hoping your vegan diet, your religion OR the advice from your neighbor's cousin will CURE YOUR CANCER! GO INSTANTLY TO your Doctor. THEN if HE says it's nothing SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR.Twelve years ago, my husband,age 67, found a lump under the skin in the middle of his back. He had been in the shower and said it just "felt odd'. It was invisable but when I ran my hand across the area it felt like a small cough drop onder the skin. We went the next day to his primary physician who happened to be a CARDIOLOGIST. They said it was NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT-------"JUST A FATTY TUMOR". Three weeks later he had his annual physical which he passed with flying colors. By Three weeks after THAT "Nothing to worry about" was about the size of a plum and showed under his tee-shirt at the fitness center where we worked out three times a week. By NOW I AM WORRYING --ALOT. I made an appointment for a second opinion. THAT Doctor made an appointment for us to see an ONCOLOGIST in three days. He had a full body MRI and had CANCER EVERYWHERE. He began hospice the NEXT DAY. They did a beautiful job of keeping him relatively comfortable but he DIED THREE WEEKS LATER. PLEASE , RUN DON'T WALK TO THE DOCTOR IF YOU FIND A LUMP!! THEN SEE A SECOND DOCTOR!!

6:29PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Well to explain my weir last comment - for some reason, there were other comments on this article last time I read it! Care2 must've had a little glitch in the Matrix.

I have heard of people healing their cancer with raw food diet - and in fact went on it myself in order to heal chronic Candida that went into leukemia (they are finding that cancer IS candida) and the raw food diet nearly killed me - it did not heal.

I am now on an all meat and fat diet, with mostly fermented vegetables, and my blood counts go up considerably every time I visit the doctor. Eating meat and saturated fat has saved my life, and I do believe raw food kills.

Viktoras Kulvinskas who was with Anne Wigmore (listed in the below books) in researching raw food - his wife died of stomach cancer in her early 50's - not a good advertisement for raw food healing cancer.

Christa, I am glad a raw food diet has worked for you, but more and more it is showing to be a nutritionally deficient diet with serious dangers to the nervous system, to teeth and to overall energy and health. I would NOT recommend a raw food diet - although there are a handful of people who do heal cancer with it - so perhaps it is a temporary remedy for some people. I just know that it almost killed me.

3:22PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Where in the heck is this video y'all keep referring to? I have gone through all three pages, clicked on all of the links, and the only video is of a man talking about research into breast cancer for men - no dancing. Where is it?

6:29AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

In regard to Christa's comment......
Reading the books is a good thing to do, as is cleaning up your diet and lifestyle and using positive visualization...BUT.....and this is a HUGE BUT...
...even Dr Weil says to go to a specialist and to use the natural alternative methods ALONG WITH conventional therapies and NEVER to rely on them ALONE!

That should have been made very clear and was not!

5:34AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I have gynoecomastia (enlarged breasts) and have twice been tested for breast cancer. It's not fun. Even the medical staff does a double take since it's so rare to see a man getting a mammogram, but it HAS TO BE DONE.

Don't let pride get in the way of your health and life. If you find a lump, get it tested. It's not that bad.

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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