Breast Cancer is one of those conditions that men think just doesn't apply to them. It sounds reasonable, doesn't it? They don't have breasts, so they can't get breast cancer. But the truth of the matter is that although it's rare, men can get breast cancer.
Men who have "at least one blood relative with the disease on their mother's side," according to an article by HealthDay, are at a higher risk to develop breast cancer. The good news for men is that breast cancer in men accounts for "less than 1 percent of breast cancer cases."
The Mayo Clinic provides the main risk factors for male breast cancer, including:
- Exposure to estrogen-related drugs, which may, for example, be found in drugs for prostate cancer.
- Liver disease. Cirrhosis may reduce male hormones and increase female homones in a man's body.
- Radiation exposure on men's chest increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity. "Fat cells convert androgens into estrogen, which may increase the estrogen in your body."
When men do get breast cancer, the most common treatment is a mastectomy, or surgical removal of the male breast. Hormone therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy may also be used. But the question that naturally leaps to mind, is how to prevent it?
There are at least two things you can do to reduce the risk of male breast cancer. One is to limit how much alcohol you drink. The less the better. Try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 drinks a night. And the second one is to stay at a healthy weight through eating a healthy diet and exercising. Finally, although it won't help prevent risk, it may be worth exploring your family history. If breast cancer has occurred in your family on your mother's side, it may act as the extra motivation so many of us need to stay thin, healthy, and active.
As strange as it may sound, the one positive benefit of men understanding that they're not immune to breast cancer is that it may deepen their understanding and help them provide support for the physical and emotional challenges faced by women who have breast cancer.
If you want to drink less, consider setting a goal and writing it down, such as "I will drink no more than 1 drink per day during the week, and no more than 2 drinks per day on the weekend." Keep the paper posted somewhere you will see it, such as on your refrigerator or in your wallet.
Male Breast Cancer Support Group
Breast Cancer in Men
Most Men Unaware of Breast Cancer Risk in Males: Survey
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!