In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and with the utmost respect to all the women who have fought and continue to fight breast cancer on a daily basis, I feel it is also worthwhile to shed some light about breast cancer among men. And although the numbers pale in comparison-- basically, breast cancer is roughly 100 times more common in women than men-- data from the American Cancer Society indicates the lifetime risk for men is 1 in 1,000 with the expectation of nearly 2,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and almost 400 deaths in 2010.
As far as some of the risk factors for breast cancer, well, no surprise here as there are many of the same ones founds among women.
In no particular order and certainly not an exhaustive list:
• Family history. As with most conditions, family history often plays a risk. The number is roughly 20% of men with breast cancer have a close relative with the disease.
• Gene mutations. As we already know the association among women, the BRCA1 and 2 genes also play some role with men as well. The BRCA2 gene accounts for about 10% of breast cancers among men. Other genes that may play a role include CHEK2 and PTEN.
• Alcohol. Increased drinking means increased risk. And although not yet proven, the thought is the impact of alcohol on the liver which plays a large role on the sex hormones metabolism in the body. Bottom line, a damaged liver may indicate an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
• Obesity. As is the case among women, fat cells may ultimately lead to higher levels of female hormones which may increase the risk of breast cancer.
• Age. For men, the average age of diagnosis is 68 years old.
What should men be looking out for? Well, pretty much the same things women need to monitor for:
• Any breast lump or swelling
• Nipple retraction and/or nipple discharge
• Any skin dimpling or redness or scaling of nipple or surrounding breast skin
But just as important as what has just been mentioned above is that men must realize they can get breast cancer as well. So if any breast changes are noted, please see your physician/health care provider because the earlier the detection, the better the chance of successful treatment.
This is part of the DailyStrength Breast Cancer Awareness Event which celebrates the strength and courage of all who are going through or are touched in some way by breast cancer.
Be sure to check out our Denim Day Photo Contest-- the winner will be awarded a $100 JC Penny Gift Card! We also have a Denim Day slideshow-- see us rocking our denim!-- and we invite everyone to share their stories about their favorite pair of jeans.
If you haven't already, don't miss the special articles that our Experts have written on their personal experience with breast cancer, and TeamDS' Affirmations that are themed around providing hope to those facing the disease.
To all our fighters out there, we are with you!