Pink! Pink! Pink! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a campaign to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. We see pink everywhere we look and shop. Women have their yearly mammograms, but what about Men? Men also are susceptible to breast cancer. Here are the facts:
- Male breast cancer is rare and accounts for only about 1% of all breast cancers.
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most common type of male breast cancer.
- A lump beneath the nipple is the most common symptom of male breast cancer.
- Breast cancer risk in men is increased by elevated levels of estrogen, previous radiation exposure, and a family history of breast cancer.
- Male breast cancer is staged (reflecting the extent of tumor spread) identically to breast cancer in women.
- Surgery is the most common initial treatment for male breast cancer. Depending on the situation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy are also considered.
- The prognosis of male breast cancer, like breast cancer in women, is predominately influenced by tumor stage.
- The prognosis for early-stage breast cancer in men is favorable, with 5-year survival rates of 100% for stage 0 and stage 1 tumors.
~Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Male breast cancer is generally overlooked. Men who develop breast cancer are often not treated until the disease has spread to the point that treatment becomes difficult. Dr. Marina Garassino says, “If treated early enough, the disease is highly responsive to hormone therapy.” In those cases, the prognosis may even be better than women. In 2009 the male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in Men joined together to globally establish the third week of October as “Male Breast Cancer Week”. For more information, here is the link for outoftheshadowofpink.com
We all have friends, relatives, and even some of our clients have been diagnosed and cured of breast cancer. There are so many walks, runs, and charities to donate for breast cancer. Next time we donate, let’s think of the men too.