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Most men are not likely to get breast cancer. Statistics show that fewer than 2,000 men in the United States are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Of all cancer deaths that occur in men, breast cancer accounts for a scant two-tenths of a percent of them. However, women are hundred times more likely to be afflicted with this disease.
Statistics aside, men can and do get breast cancer. Some do die from it. So, if you're inclined to scoff at the possibility, hold back. If you consider breast cancer to be a health problem solely found in women and ignore the possibility that you might develop it, you're being naive. If you don't take the necessary precautions to investigate the possibility that you might have breast cancer, you could be putting your life in jeopardy. Be smart and look into breast cancer screening, whether you're a man or a woman.
The breast tissue of men is slightly different than that of women. In fact male breast tissue can be viewed as an undeveloped form of female breast tissue. This can be seen in they way in which the breast of women have the apparatus for producing and storing milk, while the breasts of men consists of only a few ducts. But even though a cancer of the breast in a woman has more places to develop, eighty to ninety percent of breast cancer in men will begin in the ducts and spread to neighboring tissue.
Even if you are a man, take advantage of the breast cancer resources that are available. Your risk may be very small compared to a woman's, but being aware of your risk can only help in this matter.
Breast cancer risk factors are very similar in men and women alike. Risk factors such as a strong family history of breast cancer, increasing age, significant alcohol use, being overweight, and getting little or no exercise are among the most important ones. Particularly a family history of breast cancer in the family of each parent would be a good indicator that a man should look closely at the possibility of breast cancer, and look into information about breast cancer in men.
It is possible that your doctor will recommend screening techniques for you based on your family history.
As with most aspects of breast cancer, treatment options are pretty much the same for men as for women. Breast cancer in men is usually treated with some combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and drugs like Tamoxifen, with different cancer stages requiring different extents of treatment. Perhaps the significant difference in treatment for male breast cancer, as opposed to female breast cancer, is that women may have considerably more support for their illness.
Most women will know, or can easily locate, other women who have had breast cancer. The same is not always true for men. Furthermore, men may feel more likely to remain close-lipped about the disease, fearing that their diagnosis somehow makes them less of a man. If you are a man living with a diagnosis of breast cancer, seek out other men in your position. The moral support will be an invaluable part of your recovery. And, the opportunity to exchange information about breast cancer in men is invaluable.
Since breast cancer is quite rare for men, getting in touch with another man who has it is not easy. Some men who are unable to find a male support group opt to join a female breast cancer support group. However, for other men this is not an option.
Similarly, some men may find it easy to talk to male friends about breast cancer, while others would be mortified to do so or simply feel that their male friends would not understand.
Since support is so important, if you are a man with breast cancer, explore your options. Try joining a non-specific cancer support group that has both men and women with different types of cancer, or search online for support groups and chat rooms where you can get in touch with others who share your condition. One possibility is www.cancersociety.com. Whatever method you choose, it is important to find somewhere you can feel comfortable. No one should have to go through breast cancer alone.
You may have heard that male breast cancer, though considerably more rare than female breast cancer, is more serious. The medical community does not consider this to be the case. Breast cancer in men and women seem to be very comparable according to staging. The only difference might be that women are more aware of the possibility, and more diligent about screening than men, whereas men are less likely to pay attention to information on breast cancer.
Any breast cancer found at a later stage is more difficult to treat. But, if men do catch breast cancer in themselves while it is still in an early stage, their chances for survival are reportedly as good as a woman.
Men, like women, have a certain amount of breast tissue. Obviously, they have nipples, unused structures left over from initial development in the womb. Essentially, all children are born with the basic breast structure. As puberty arrives, female hormones stimulate growth and changes in the breasts to eventually feed babies.
Male hormones focus on development elsewhere in the body, like the testicles. As a result, the breast tissue of men is nothing but a nipple, a few ducts, and perhaps a lobule or two with some surrounding fatty tissue. However in some men, these structures are enough for cancer to start. If you are a man, you should not ignore this fact. Getting information about breast cancer in men is something that every man should ask their doctor about.
The signs and symptoms that indicate breast cancer in women hold true for men as well. Changes in the appearance of the breast tissue, such as dimpling, puckering, swelling, lumps, a rash or red skin, a discharge from the nipple, and a nipple that turns inward are among suspicious signs that are worth a visit to the doctor. This is all the more reason for men to pay attention when the women around them are getting information about breast cancer.
Since women are more likely than men to recognize a possible symptom of breast cancer when they see it, a woman should keep alert for changes in the breast tissue of her significant other.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|