There’s plenty of awareness about the risks of breast cancer for women, including visible campaigns to encourage regular mammograms and self-checks for residents of Manchester and elsewhere. While this is encouraging, much less attention is given to the fact that men can also have this type of cancer, requiring some of them to need end of life care.
The staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care works with male and female patients with different types of cancers. Everyone’s situation is different, and every cancer is different, but we make sure we provide the same high level of care to everyone. We also understand that being aware and getting treatment early is vital.
We also encourage people to learn about breast cancer, especially men, since although it’s less common for men than women to contract this, it still can affect many.
In fact, because it’s less common, it also has more serious outcomes since some men may not discover it until the cancer has advanced to the point that treatment is difficult.
The American Cancer Society reports that about 2,620 cases of male breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2020, and about 520 men will die from it. It’s 70 percent less common among African-American men than African-American women, and 100 times less common among Caucasian men vs. Caucasian women. The overall risk of men contracting breast cancer is about 1 to 833.
In comparison, the ACS said about 276,480 new cases of breast cancer for women will be diagnosed in 2020, and about 42,170 will die of it. It’s considered the second most common cancer for women, after skin cancer. About 48,530 new cases of carcinoma in situ (a non-invasive type of cancer, and the earlier stage of breast cancer) will also be diagnosed.
The Centers for Disease Control said African-American and Caucasian women have about the same rates of breast cancer but African-American women have a higher rate of death from the condition.
Medical experts also have identified other similarities and differences in male vs. female breast cancer cases.
Cancer Treatments of America said both genders can share the same genetic mutations that can increase their risks of certain cancers, but women also have different structural differences. They also can have similar physical signs that something is wrong, such as a lump or lumps, inflamed tissue, or swollen or discolored nipples.
There are also similar risk factors, including family history, genetic history, age, and general lifestyle. The CDC said those who have higher rates of obesity have higher risks of breast cancer.
Men do have some different risk factors as well, including past damage to the testicles. A rare genetic condition called Klinefelter syndrome also increases a men’s estrogen levels and reduces levels of androgen, a hormone that maintains and develops male sex characteristics.)
Because women’s breasts are functional by being able to provide milk to children. This causes them to have different types of fatty tissue in this area along with a series of milk ducts. In comparison men only have fat and muscle in that area.
Women also generally produce higher levels of estrogen while men generally don’t produce very high levels. Although in some cases, men who do produce estrogen for whatever reason may change the structure of their breast tissue and possibly increase their cancer risk.
Cancer Treatments of America said besides the pathological differences between male and female breast cancers, there sometimes are psychological differences in how the condition is perceived before and after treatment. Since there is less familiarity with male breast cancer but more familiarity with female breast cancer, a man who is diagnosed with these conditions may sometimes feel emasculated for contracting something that women get.
Attached to this is a view held by some males that men should always be strong and not need to go to the doctor or get any medical treatment – a “walk it off” sense of masculinity. Of course, those in the medical industry know that certain conditions don’t care about gender or how strong you feel.
So a man who has breast cancer and even has surgery to remove the affected part of his breast or breasts may feel even more unhappy and isolated which could lead to depression and make life even more difficult for him. Depression can also affect someone’s physical health
Learn more this month
This month is a good opportunity to find out more about breast cancer for women and for men.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual reminder and awareness campaign organized by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Although there’s plenty of language geared to women on the official site, there’s plenty of general information that everyone can learn something about themselves or someone they know.
The site discusses common breast problems that can be seen, along with different resources to get help, whether such as a screening or other advice. People also download various materials and e-books about dealing with cancer along with info to be shared on social media to help spread the word.