According to the statistics, around 49,900 women were diagnosed with the disease in the UK in 2011.
However, we should not forget that even 350 men in the UK were diagnosed with breast cancer in the same year as well.
People should be aware of the fact that breast cancer is not a disease that only attacks women. In order to prove that men can also suffer from breast cancer, we will present you six things that guys who have been affected by the disease want you to know.
- Men need to self-examine their chest area
In 2012, Dale Pillow, a 62 years old men was diagnosed with breast cancer.
During his illness, he advised men to take a pro-active approach to looking for the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer.
“When people would hear about my situation, they would first say how sorry they were to learn about it and then they’d always comment how they didn’t know men could get breast cancer too,” he said.
“Every one needs to learn the facts, and men need to be doing self-exams the same as women.”
- Pink ribbons aren’t inclusive
Russ Heard, a software engineer made a mistake by ignoring his symptoms of breast cancer for almost a year before being diagnosed. The reason why he ignored then is because he didn’t think about the possibility of getting breast cancer as a man.
According to him, the ignorance among men about men breast cancer is the feminine merchandising around breast cancer.
“When you look at the posters in the doctor’s surgery, they’re all coloured pink. Men think breast cancer stuff looks aimed at women,” he said.
“I think it could be made more available to men – and I’ve heard that comment in the past from male friends who didn’t realise men could get it, even though we have nipples and men have breast tissue. It is a possibility.”
- Tests feel like they are geared towards women
Due to the fact that the majority of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer are women, tests and forms have been created with them in mind. Unfortunately, this makes things harder for men.
B.D. Colen is a writer who won a Pulitzer Prize and he was diagnosed with breast cancer after he discovered a lump in his breast. He wrote about his experience on his own blog:
“I found myself in the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Brigham and Women’s for an examination by a nurse practitioner. And boy, did I feel out of place,” he said.
“The young women at the front desk did their best to make me feel less uncomfortable, but it’s hard to feel you belong when you’re filling out a form filled with questions clearly written for women. How many pregnancies had I had? Well…”
- Men worry about having mammograms, too
Reid Stanley is the man who lost his wife to breast cancer. He works in the field of radiology which means that he knew what to expect when his doctor told him he needed a mammogram to look at a lump in his breast.
He was very worried about the procedure.
“I was so nervous when I called to get the appointment, even though it’s with my own department,” he said.
“Would I be laughed at? I know there are occasionally men who have mammograms – I’ve preached this for years. But now, it’s me, and I feel like the only one in the world. Just like every other woman who is suddenly facing this.
- Men and women do not experience breast cancer in the same way
Both genders have difficulties when dealing with breast cancer, but they are very different.
Cancer survivor Charles Pelkey explains: “Given that modern cancer treatments usually involve the surgical removal of the offending body part, I’m actually pretty happy I didn’t get a more ‘manly’ cancer. If I had to give up something, my middle-aged moobs are the first thing I’d offer on the sacrificial altar.”
“There is no emotional connection. Very little of our physical, psychological or sexual identity is wrapped up in ours. Reconstruction – if we opt for it – involves nothing more than a pair of tattooed nipples.”
- Male breast cancer is nothing to be embarrassed about
In 2012, Harvey Singer was diagnosed with cancer after her mother and sister were diagnosed one month apart.
After this unfortunate situation, he noticed that women feel more comfortable talking about breast cancer than men are.
“I think the biggest problem around male breast cancer is the stigma – guys don’t like to talk about it,” he said.
“I decided from the onset that I was going to talk about my disease. The more we can make this a topic of conversation, the more we can make this public, the more we can make people aware that guys can get this.”