Men Get Breast Cancer Too

Cynthia Bailey, MD|October 25, 2016

Most attention during Breast Cancer Month is focused on women. We all need to know that men get breast cancer too. 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. Know too, that men can carry genes for breast cancer, putting them at a higher risk for the disease. Also, 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. Click here to read Norman's story.

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 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. 

Photo courtesy of Norman Smith.

Interested to read more? See these related posts:

Do you know someone that experienced male breast cancer? Sharing your story may help save a life. We love to hear from you in the comments below. 

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