This is not a myth. Not only women get breast cancer. Men get it too. Even though men don’t have breasts like women, they do have a small amount of breast tissue. The “breasts” of an adult man are similar to the breasts of a girl before puberty. In girls, this tissue grows and develops, but in men, it doesn’t.
- Because of the attention that is given to breast cancer and the strides achieved in creating awareness of breast cancer in women, it is earlier diagnosed in women than in men, and that is where the problem lies. Cancers that are not detected early are very dangerous.
- Also, the small amount of breast tissue in men is harder to feel, making it more difficult to catch these cancers early. It also means tumours can spread more quickly to surrounding tissues.
- Men have risk factors too. There are things that raise the odds for male breast cancer. Some of them are: Breast cancer in a close female relative; history of radiation exposure of the chest; enlargement of breasts (called gynecomastia) from drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons; taking estrogen; severe liver disease, called cirrhosis; diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchitis or a testicular injury.
- Symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those in women. Most male breast cancers are diagnosed when a man discovers a lump on his chest. But unlike women, men tend to delay going to the doctor until they have more severe symptoms, like bleeding from the nipple. At that point, cancer may have already spread.
- The same techniques that are used to diagnose breast cancer in women are used in men: physical exams, mammography, and biopsies (examining small samples of tissue under a microscope).
- Likewise, the same treatments that are used in treating breast cancer in women — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy — are also used to treat breast cancer in men. The one major difference is that men with breast cancer respond much better to hormone therapy than women do. About 90% of male breast cancers have hormone receptors, meaning that hormone therapy can work in most men to treat cancer.
So you see, October is not for women only, men, go and check too.
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