Did you know men can be at risk of breast cancer?


October is a breast cancer awareness week.  Whenever you hear about breast cancer, it indicates a cancer associated with women.  Breast cancer has been in constant news this year owing to the new guidelines and controversy around mammography.  Did you know that men are also at risk of breast cancer?  A new study revealed that about 80% of men, who are at high risk of breast cancer, are not aware that men can develop this type of cancer.  

About the study
The study was led by Dr. Eileen Thomas, an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Denver.  It involved survey of 28 men, who were at higher risk of breast cancer.  The risk was defined based on the fact that one of their blood relative with breast cancer on their mother’s side.  The study was published in the October issue of the American Journal of Nursing. 

Results of the study
The study revealed

  • 78% of men were not aware of the fact that men could develop breast cancer
  • 43% said, if they have breast cancer, it puts question their masculinity 

Significance of the study
Although the study involved survey of only 28 men, but the breast cancer awareness week has hit home with this study.  At least it indicates that

  • breast cancer is not confined to women only
  • people should be made aware of the risk of breast cancer in men   

Dr Thomas said that “This study provides a first step toward an improved understanding...

about men’s perceptions and knowledge of male breast cancer.” 

Is breast cancer common in men?
U.S. National Cancer Institute revealed that the breast cancer in men accounts for less than 1% of breast cancer cases, and tends to affect men aged 60 to 70.  Maureen Shawn Kennedy, editorial director and interim editor-in-chief of the journal, said that 

  • “Male breast cancer is uncommon and so has largely been ignored by the media, general population and health care community.”
  • “Still, nurses in all settings need to raise awareness about male breast cancer among men as well as women, especially those men at high risk for the disease.” 

Although the prevalence of breast cancer in men is low, but still the study revealed that it exists.  I hope the breast cancer month will reveal more uncommon facts about the disease that people should be aware of.

Source: Business Week

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