Yes, men are still at risk of getting breast cancer!
After turning 30 years old last year, I have become more aware about my health. I can’t tell you that I have always been adamant about keeping myself healthy. In fact, there was a point in my life that I didn’t believe in going to doctors unless I was sick. I tried to stay away from the doctor as much as I could for years.
But then, two years ago, my father passed away from stage 4 colon cancer. This event in my life put everything in perspective, especially since I had been planning to ask my girlfriend of four years to be my wife. I wanted to start a new chapter with the love of my life. To make the story short, we got married and my health has become more important to me than ever.
I have been making sure that I maintain a good relationship with my doctor as well as making the best decisions I can for my health and wellness. I’ve had some preventive screenings. In fact, I just had a head-to-toe exam of my skin for any abnormalities. I had a biopsy done and am currently waiting on the results. These types of preventive visits were something that my father did not practice in the Philippines. My father found out that he had cancer when it was at stage 4. He fought as best as he could and eventually lost the battle.
For this month, I want to focus on breast cancer. This type of cancer has taken many lives of women — as well as some men. Yes, men are susceptible to getting breast cancer. In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated that there will be 2,350 new cases of breast cancer and 440 breast cancer deaths.
Here are a quick questions and answers about breast cancer in men:
What are the warning signs of breast cancer in men?
- Lump or thickening in the breast, chest, or underarm area.
- Changes in the shape or size of the breast.
- Itchy feeling or rash on the nipple.
- Redness or signs of agitation on the skin of the breast.
- Inverted nipple or the pulling in of other parts of the breast.
- In rare cases, nipple discharge.
What should I do if I notice any warning signs?
- See your doctor right away. Do not delay; the survival rate for breast cancer is highest when found early.
- If you do not have a doctor, call your health department or a nearby hospital.
What are the risk factors for male breast cancer?
- Age is the most common risk factor for breast cancer in both women and men. For men it is usually detected between 60 and 70 years of age.
- Being exposed to radiation.
- Having several female relatives who have had breast cancer, especially family members who had an alteration of the BRCA2 gene.
- Inheriting gene mutations from a person’s parents. This can make up about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer.
- Some conditions that affect the testicles like swelling.
What can I do to prevent breast cancer?
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Stay physically active to meet the 10,000 steps per day recommendation or the 150 total minutes of moderate intensity activity level.
- Don’t smoke. If you currently smoke, quit.