Men get breast cancer and it is important to know this. Most attention during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is focused on women, but men need to know about breast cancer for their own preventative health care.
When men get breast cancer, the signs of cancer are the same as they are in women.
However, a huge difference is that men are not regularly screened with mammography. Even during a physical medical exam, men may not receive a breast exam. Breasts are not just "girly" parts - they are human parts - and all human parts can get cancer.
All men need to do monthly self-breast exams, just like they should do self-testicular exams and skin exams.
For men who come from families with a lot of female relatives touched by breast cancer, there needs to be heightened awareness and screening of their own breasts for cancer. It is important to know that,
- men can carry genes for breast cancer, putting them at a higher risk for the disease,
- men who carry the gene can pass the disease on to their children - the odds are often 50:50.
To help everyone understand the reality of male breast cancer, Norman Smith is getting the word out by sharing his story!
Go Norman! My readers know that I'm a huge advocate for us cancer survivors sharing our stories in the hopes of helping others. Norman is a BRCA mutation carrier, like me. And like me, Norman was the first person in his family to be diagnosed with the BRCA mutation. Wow - BRCA sure does explain the sad stories of cancer deaths in both his and my ancestry.
So, let's make male self-breast exams a regular thing! Men, do yours! Women, add it to the 'honey-do list' that our men love so much (or get the process started by offering to help teach them how - that might be more fun!). However, it gets accomplished, it is important to do. Let's kick cancers a** by being proactive.
How can you tell if your family might have one of the genes for breast cancer?
My infographic below spells out the warning signs for the BRCA gene mutation, which is the mutation that Norman and I both have. However, the BRCA mutation is not the only mutation out there that puts a person at higher risk; there are others too.
Only 10% of people who carry the BRCA gene mutation know that they do.
Does your family history look like what is described below? Does this description look like the family of a dear friend?
Share the BRCA infographic while people are talking about breast cancer this month - you may help a family stop the horrible tragedy of hereditary breast cancer.
Sharing this information is an important way we can help stop the rampant run of this horrible - and all too common - disease.
Interested to read more? See these related posts:
- Thriving, Part 1. From Surviving to Thriving with Breast Cancer in 2016
- Chemotherapy Skin Problems - Preventing Skin Infections
Do you need a thoughtful gift for someone undergoing chemotherapy for cancer right now?
I created my Dermatologist's Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit to keep skin healthy during chemo. These are the products I used during my own chemo treatments. I donate all of the profits from the Chemo Kit to FORCE, the cancer advocacy organization for the BRCA and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community, of which Norman and I are members!
Photo courtesy of Norman Smith.