Although breast cancer is mostly a women’s disease, with men having a natural immunity against it, more and more cases of breast cancer in male patients made some doctors think that men are no longer shielded from breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2,300 men would be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of this year. Moreover, more than 400 men would lose the battle against the disease this year. Women, however, are still the most affected group with 231,840 new cases expected to emerge this year.
Lynda Weeks, chief of the Susan G. Komen Louisville, a breast cancer research center in Louisville, KY, explained that breast cancer in men is still “unusual” but because it is so unusual men learn that they have breast cancer when it is too late.
According to a Susan G. Komen Louisville report, one in 1,000 men in the Western world is diagnosed with cancer every year. Dr. Janell Seeger from the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville recently said that the number of breast cancer cases among men in on the rise so men are no longer shielded from breast cancer. Past studies had shown a rise of 25 percent in the only 25 years.
Hugh Campbell, a 54 year-old man from Louisville, learned he had cancer when he was 45. At that time he decided to have a mammogram after he learned that his mother was diagnosed with the disease. Doctors told him that the lump in his left breast was benign.
A year later, he was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. He had his left breast completely removed by the time he turned 47 and underwent chemotherapy. His condition is now stable.
“He was very scared about what was going to happen, because men don’t think they have breasts,”
his wife Kim recalls.
Dr. Seeger explained that because men do not have too much breast tissue, cancer or any abnormalities can be easily detected. Yet, because there is not that much tissue there, tumors can easily spread to muscles, nipples, lymph nodes, and skin. Most breast cancers detected in males already reached other parts of the body when they were discovered.
Harvey Ragland was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990. Back then he couldn’t believe his years. Doctors were shocked as well. His case was one in 200,000. He was 40 years old when he received the diagnosis. He recalls that he felt pain in his left breast. After his GP gave him antibiotics, the condition worsened. Another doctor told him he had cancer and in less than a week he had a radical mastectomy.
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